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Subject: Command the Oceans (FULL GAME) rss

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Command the Oceans


The time has come for me to play another solo campaign game!  It will be the first game of this type since my Experimental cumulative game in January 2016, and the first (hopefully) longer-style physical campaign game I've played since Economy Edition in June 2015.

I've taken my own advice and used my Guide to huge games thread to plan this thing out.

Rules

I will generally be using my Basic Rules.  Most of the core game rules stay the same for those, and some of the bigger changes like the endgame rules won't apply here since it's a campaign game.  However, I will point out two things from my Basic Rules to keep in mind:

-Ships cannot do damage by ramming.
-When a ship wins a boarding party, the winner decides whether they will take gold/resources or eliminate crew. The winner chooses which gold/resources to take, but the loser chooses which crew is eliminated.

Those are probably the two biggest things to remember from my rules for the battle reports for this particular game.

Now, onto the house rules!  Some of these are subject to change depending on how things go.

-All ships and forts must be hit twice to eliminate one of their masts.  These hits can come at any time; they do not have to come in the same turn or during the same shoot action.  This rule also applies to ships such as El Acorazado, whose ability now reads "four hits are required to eliminate one of this ship's masts" (not necessarily the same shoot action).  (I did this for my Century of the Empires game in 2013 and generally enjoy the rule quite a bit, and as I did back then I plan to track damage by putting the tiny dice next to a mast that has a hit on it)

-To make things even more realistic, ships with no masts remaining must be hit twice as many times as they have masts in order to sink.  I used this rule in CotE as well, because ships almost never sunk from pure combat. However, in order to alleviate how many derelicts could be floating around as a result, scuttling attempts succeed on a die roll of 4 as well as 5 or 6.

-Ships can be shot at even if they are docked at their home islands.

-If a faction does not have any ships docked at their home island, all opposing ships may raid their home island freely, taking as much gold and resources as they want.

-Forts and flotillas do not follow the no-duplicates rule.

-Return to Savage Shores game pieces may be used.

-Custom game pieces may be used, as long as they aren’t too overpowered.

Land combat/ground forces

There will be opportunities for fleets to purchase army units from RISK for use in the game.  There will not be territories and RISK rules, but there will be land warfare. These rules are extremely subject to change.

Infantry: 1 point, L move; can shoot at 3S to eliminate crew only (considered crew)
Artillery: 3 points, S move; can shoot at 2L as a regular cannon (considered equipment)

-These units can only use their abilities on land.
-These units count against the point and cargo restrictions on ships.
-These units must be unloaded with an explore action or an explored island marker - they are not subject to the "free transfer while docked" rule.
-Ships can fire on army units that they can reach with their cannon ranges, but once they are out of range they cannot be shot at.  (in which case the attacker would need to land army units of their own on the island or somehow draw the units back into range)
-Army units are unloaded on islands at the location where the ship docked.  They must be given move actions to move to other locations on the island. Army units cannot be given more than one action per turn, and they cannot be given extra actions by any means.
-Infantry units are eliminated by a single hit from a ship or fort, but artillery units follow the naval combat rules and must be hit twice overall to be eliminated.

During land warfare, infantry units have a 3S cannon that can shoot at other army units, while artillery units have a 2L cannon.  Infantry units are eliminated with one hit from any type of army unit, while artillery units are eliminated with two hits from infantry units and one hit from artillery units.

Money!
As of now, I am tentatively planning to use a combination of gold and resources on wild islands.  Resources will follow the system implemented by cannonfury for his Economy Edition rules.  For those unfamiliar, each resource is assigned a number 1-6 starting with lumber. An initial roll for resource value is made, which follows the "Die Roll" row below.    Then 2 d6 are rolled to determine how many turns the values last before they change. As with Economy Edition, I will be using face up coins for resources and face down coins for gold.

Die Roll......1......2.......3.......4.......5.......6
Lumber......1......6.......5.......4.......3.......2
Textiles......2......1.......6.......5.......4.......3
Metals........3......2.......1.......6.......5.......4
Fish...........4......3.......2.......1.......6.......5
Spices........5......4.......3.......2.......1.......6
Luxuries.....6......5.......4.......3.......2.......1

-Unlike the Economy Edition rules, building a fort on an island does not shut down resource production on that island.

Other rules

As you will eventually see, various custom house rules will need to be instituted during the game for different reasons.  These include longer range lines of fire from higher altitude vantage points, in addition to custom rules for "special" game pieces.  I anticipate this game getting chaotic to the point of absolute bedlam, but I will do my best to create rules so that certain things make sense and can be explained thematically and hopefully with proper rules as well.

Starting Conditions

As the name of the game implies, there will not be just one ocean area for this game.  In fact, the space constraints and logistics of the two different rooms I'm playing in will result in not two but THREE different oceans!   The general sizes of these oceans are 6x3, 5x3, and 3x3, for a grand total of 42 square feet of ocean!

I will not say how many or which factions will be participating.  All I can say is that the number is more than 4, but less than 10, as not all of the factions will be playing individually.  The main factions will become obvious once play begins, but the factional boundaries will not necessarily stay constant until the end of the game.  Along with the uncertainty of in-game house rules, this is one area in which even I don't know what the future holds.

-Fleets will have 30 points for their starting fleet.

-Flat earth rules are being used.

The setup will be revealed in due time, don't worry.   I will be purposely leaving some things "off camera" until the viewer needs to see what they are.  :twisted:

Also, the factions don't know the various areas well at all, as they're new to the locations.  As a result, things will seem a bit off at times, but this is simply to emphasize that the scale of the oceans is larger than it appears, so fleets cannot simply "see" something even if it looks clear in the actual pictures, since it's farther away than it looks to us.  This is part of the reason that the oceans will not be revealed from the start - the factions have to find their way by sailing around, so the reader of these reports is discovering things as the factions discover them!

An important note about the setup: I consider the aesthetics of my games a pathetic joke compared to the gameplay itself, so if you don’t like how something looks, make a prettier version of it and send it to me lol.  I am a firm believer that you can spend far too much time pondering about this game, making fleets for it, making detailed and beautiful custom terrain, but then complain that you don’t get to PLAY as much as you’d like. I am the opposite - I am sacrificing aesthetics and long hours spent toiling on stuff in order to PLAY THE GAME!

Victory Conditions

-Last fleet afloat wins the game.

-As I've warned with my other physical campaign games, this game may end very suddenly at any point in time.  It may abruptly stop all of a sudden without me expecting it to. Even if it doesn't, it may require an artificial "ending" depending on the circumstances, as physical campaign games are difficult to play to true completion (aka last fleet afloat wins).  Therefore, in the case of an earlier finish, the fleet with the most points in play will win.

Other
-One of the three ocean areas is on the floor, but I will be preventing any disasters with proactive measures.
-To avoid this game taking over my soul like Economy Edition did in June 2015, I am going to attempt play limits.  After the first week or so of play, I plan to only play one turn per day. I plan to do battle reports consistently, possibly even on a per-turn basis.

-Please comment what you think about this game!  I would LOVE to have feedback on the rules I'm using, the setup, the house rules I'm implementing, and anything else you find interesting.  Don't hesitate to comment which faction you're rooting for, or what you thought of something that happened. I want as much interaction as possible!
-I have some surprises for you all, and some things that people will be happy to see.  I am very excited to play this game and I hope that a lot of people read about it! Even if you don't plan to post in the thread, go ahead and hit "Watch this topic for replies" at the bottom of the page so you don't miss the excitement!  

Final note of warning: I am about as hyped for this game as I have ever been before starting a game of Pirates CSG.  I have purposely made this post somewhat nonchalant, but I believe my enthusiasm will show through indeed. If this thing somehow, someway, works out, we are all in for a wild, WILD ride.  O_O

9/8/2017

^Please read the first post if you haven't already!^

PLAY HAS BEGUN!

The first resource rolls!  For the first 8 turns, fish would be the most valuable resource.


Introducing: [card="132295"]Captain Mysion's[/card] Pirate Kingdom!

After being inspired by his flavor text, I made a Pirate Empire fleet to showcase what I thought of the idea.  Now I've taken it a step further! With a large piece of foam cut to form a hideout inside, as well as arch entrance and exit points, I now have a "Pirate Kingdom" in physical form!!


The self-proclaimed King of Pirates is either a genius or a buffoon, depending on which side you are on. Though many of his actions are inexplicable, they seem to work out for him in the end. And when it’s all said and done he lords over the only defensive pirate haven in the world.

A group of shipwrecked pirates stole a ship to escape their island prison, not realizing it was a secret Cursed vessel. Taking it to Captain Mysion’s pirate "kingdom", they received a hero’s welcome.

Here you can just make out all three Pirate ships that are in Mission's starting fleet.  At the bottom of the picture, notice the splash of gold...


At ship level now, this is the southern entrance (for this game) of the kingdom.  Notice the imposing rocky walls that make up the archway leading inside. Sail too close, and yards may begin flying everywhere!


Up close above the northern arch.


This is just above sea level at the southwestern corner.  There is a foreboding deep cave, with some weeds and foliage growing in many spots of the formerly uninhabited rock.


Another great view from above, showing most of the rocky haven.  Notice the flat parts surrounding that high outcropping in the middle, as well as the shelf-like outcropping protruding from the western wall.


A golden waterfall?!?  :shock: Or, as Mysion likes to call it, his "goldfall".  


A view from the gold waterfall, showing the two Pirate sloops.  As you can see, one of them is nestled in against the interior wall for superior defensive positioning.  The other sloop is docked against one of the arch entrances, ready to sail out at a moment's notice.


The "goldfall" leads straight to the Cassandra, and you guessed it - Mission is aboard!  However, this is his Mysterious Islands iteration, and he'll try to give extra actions to his new ship to make her extra effective.


With great fanfare, Mission leaves his kingdom and sets out into the sea!  What a great scene!!


Mission's helpers are currently the Smiling Jim and the Fancy.  Both are speedy and accurate Pirate sloops, but neither can carry much cargo.  However, the Cassandra certainly can! This was all part of Mission's plan for such a new area - as long as he kept the goodies in his personal stores, the crew on the other ships couldn't tempt the others into coming aboard and leaving Mission.  A clever Pirate indeed. Clever enough to not only find such an amazing natural defensive structure, but exploit it to the point of making it a powerful pirate base.


But this isn't just a party for pirates, now is it?!  Look who's here: the Jade Rebellion is back!! On their own once again, the Jade Rebels are looking to avenge a frustrating loss in their own home waters of the South China Seas during the Experimental cumulative game about a year and a half ago.  Leading their efforts this time around are two brand-new ships to my collection: the huge GRAND WIND and the Sea Snake! Warlord Cavendish commands the Grand Wind, with a helmsman aboard to make the ship sail at an acceptable pace.

The Jade Rebels seemingly appeared out of nowhere at the edge of this ocean, which is not just "Ocean #1" (for gameplay purposes and turn order), but also the Sea of Allost! (pronounced like you're saying "all lost" as one word, not like ballast hah)  The sea was so named because according to ancient legends, "all are lost who travel these waters". This is not true in the least, as sailors seem to find their way rather easily in the Sea of Allost. (note: I love mispronouncing the real life Sea of Azov as "A-zovv" so this was a way for me to make a similar sounding name along with a vague flavor explanation lol)


Welcome to the Caribbean!!

Well, kind of.  XD Due to space constraints and another factor, it doesn't resemble the Caribbean at all, but more a tiny snapshot of one fictionalized area of the Caribbean.  By fictionalized, I mean that there are a couple Caribbean-type things involved, but they aren't in their regular locations and the scale is tiny. (as it had to be, unfortunately)  For the purposes of turn order and sequence, this is also known as Ocean #2.

Clearly the English have arrived!  They sail in on two more ships that I built just before the game started, as I usually try to do with physical campaign games.  HMS Viceroy and HMS Apollo have officially entered Royal Navy service, and they are eager to prove themselves in such fine and beautiful waters.  Speaking of beautiful, check out their home island! You may recognize the style and aesthetics of it, and indeed it is yet another creation from Ross in AZ.  You are probably impressed, but don't be jealous of me - you can get some too! He sells (and sometimes trades) them; check out details on his Facebook page.


The English depart from Port Royal, looking for ways to maximize English wealth and territorial claims.


Ohhh boy!!  Spain is back in action!  After a dominant showing in the first VASSAL campaign game, they're off to a HOT start in the third one.  Now they've invaded the Caribbean and look for another victory! Setting sail from their home island of Hispaniola (thematically), the Spanish fleet contains a familiar ship: the San Estaban! This ship was one of the luckiest ships ever during my Economy Edition game two years ago, so naturally the Spanish are looking to capitalize on the ship's rich history and surprise unknowing opponents.


Joining the San Estaban are the Magdalena and La Ebro, good sloops from subpar sets.  Obviously they are using another island from Rossinaz, while in the background you can see a little preview or "taste" of the Caribbean.   A dangerous rock lies in wait, while my handmade sandbars are to the right.


The Spanish split their fleet into three, so they can explore more than one area of the Caribbean at a time.


The crew of the Ebro spot the imposing rock, whose height is nearly the same as the Ebro's single mast!  Before we leave the Caribbean for now, a note about the oceans: as you can generally see already, I am using a combination of completely fictional locations (Sea of Allost) along with a small but pseudo-historical real location (Caribbean).  I realize this mix of reality and fantasy is not for everyone, but I can promise you that it will be worth it. Just keep reading.


Introducing: The HARBOR!!

It's here!  With an absolute bevy of ideas percolating in my head over the past few weeks, the Harbor makes a grand entrance.  The Harbor was cut from a large piece of foam, as the middle chunk was easily removed to leave a massive frame that works great as a defensible harbor.  

In this Sea of Karkuda (name subject to change, also Ocean #3 for playing purposes), the French have arrived to build a massive harbor complex that eclipses the engineering feats of just about all other factions in any "game" ever.  However, by the time they were done building it, they were nearly broke and could only afford a single dock for their ships!! Hahah!


A slightly more overhead view, showing how large the man-made structure is.  The main harbor rule is as follows: Harbor docks of any size cost 10 gold apiece.  I'm hoping this will be a reasonable way to let the French expand their operations within their luxurious confines, without being too cheap to allow for easy exploitation since the French are VERY lucky to have even built it in the first place.  It's capable of holding far more ships than Mysion's kingdom, and may also be a stronger defensive haven. Therefore, it seems only fair that the French must build it up in order to have a drawback for using it from the beginning of the game. Oh, and another thing: ships must unload at docks within the Harbor, as the main walls cannot be docked at by any ships on the inside OR the outside.  This forces the French to travel further inside to unload things, but also forces any potential home island raiders to brave arguably the most dangerous gauntlet of defense constructed in a Pirates game.


I hope you enjoyed the introduction of my new Harbor area.  I initially had some issues with it which I'll expand upon later, but now that I've done some serious brainstorming and thinking (thus the word bevy, harhar!), it has the potential to be an all-time great.

Well!  Let's not forget about the faction who controls the Harbor, shall we?  The French! Sailing out with an Admiral's Action to start the game provided by [card="87730"]Amiral Gaston de St. Croix[/card], the Soleil Royal is back in action!  After a lengthy hiatus, one of my favorite French ships ever returns to physical play. A triumphant return indeed, for she is already sailing at a good clip with Gaston's help.  Speaking of help, Gaston has some of his own. Duncan Rousseau is excited about sailing around the Sea of Karkuda, and provides a nice reroll for the AA ability. His Parley can help to keep the Soleil Royal safe if she gets into a quarry with an enemy, while a helmsman has also been hired to make the ship sail with the best of them.  Trailing the SR is the Marianne, a slow but underrated sloop.


I will be making attempts to play this game during peak natural lighting, but some turns (especially those in Karkuda) may have some darker shots.  The flash will come in handy, though I'd like to avoid using it a lot because it can look rather strange and unnatural. In this case it helps to illuminate the beauty of the Soleil Royal and show off the basic cardboard I used for the dock lol.  With a thick enough piece it can be very durable and comes with a nice wooden color, so I can just cut it and use it without further modification!


Making an entrance similar to the Jades, the Americans are here!  They sail into the Sea of Karkuda on two ships: the Bonhomme Richard, legend of the North Sea, and the Argo, legend of nothing.  XD Brent Rice and a helmsman crew the Bonhomme Richard, a ship that unfortunately had a very loose mizzenmast when I received her constructed in an eBay lot some years ago.  I have not used either ship as much as I'd like to have, especially the BR, so they comprise America's starting fleet.

The Argo has already spotted an island, but it looks very rocky and inhospitable, at least to humans.  However, it has been named "Luck Island" due to the "lucky stone" on top of the main outcropping. (note: In my childhood, summer vacations on a local lake with a rock-filled beach led to the finding of some "lucky stones", which are simply stones that have a clean hole all the way through)  The Americans don't want to settle on Luck Island, but they also don't want to go through that dangerous-looking swirl of water off the starboard side of the BR....


Luck Island, with the hole in the rock showing the BR's jib.  A keen eye will notice "land ho!" off in the distance, but that doesn't mean the Americans can see it yet.  (a rare instance of you glimpsing something before the sailors do, as I noted in the first post of this thread)

(Karkuda comes from other real-life location names I enjoy, such as the Sea of Marmara, Barbados, Barbuda, etc.)

If you've been keeping count, we are now up to 3 oceans (Allost, Caribbean, Karkuda), 2 rooms (Karkuda is in a different room), and 6 factions.  Not to mention some fun new creations!! And don't worry, the fun nearly hasn't even started yet! XD We're only one turn in!

Another round of turns begins!  Mysion on the Cassandra sees a familiar sight he saw on his trip in, but he's been busy "renovating" the now-active Pirate Kingdom base.  It's Pistol Island, so named for its distinctive shape. (long handle at the left, with a barrel at the right and even a bit of a flared muzzle like a flintlock to boot!)  Note: This is a rock I discovered at the aforementioned lake many years ago, but this is the first time I've used it in a Pirates game. It's further proof that I've been at this nautical stuff for a while, since I may have found it before I got into Pirates and possibly even before the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out!


The Jade Rebellion has quickly found a perfect island to call home in the Sea of Allost!  Both ships dock at the beach, but they're still organizing parties for exploratory purposes.


An imposing sight: the Viceroy carries not only Thomas Gunn, but also Major Peter Sharpe, a bargain-priced marine in the employ of England.  The name Gunn is probably familiar to most readers, as the most effective Admiral of the Age in many respects. His new post has him in control of just two ships, but if fortune smiles upon his fate he will command many more before too long....


Oh no!  The San Estaban's luck appears to be more pedestrian already than it was in EE, for the Spanish captain and helmsman aboard the vessel only find some rocks and reefs blocking their path.


The Ebro meets a similar dilemma, and her crew sticks with the plan of meeting with her fleetmates instead of forging ahead with her ability to ignore terrain while moving.


The entire Spanish fleet, showing a good chunk of the Caribbean.


Back to Karkuda: what beauty!  The French flagship gets a second consecutive AA from Gaston, allowing her to dock at a nearby wild island and explore it!


With the first island resource roll of the game, the French discover yummy food on the nice island!  Here you can see the Merchants and Marauders token I'll use, along with a French pennant marker.


The Americans discover an island much more "human friendly" than Luck Island!  They plan to make it their home after exploring it, similar to the Jades in the Sea of Allost.


That is all for the time being, but I'll be back with more very soon.  However, in the meantime I thought I'd leave you with a final picture, a preview of sorts.  This is an undiscovered wild island, which will be called "The Flat" for obvious reasons.  It's another old rock from a long time ago, but in this case it was recently glued back together to look the part for this game!  Haha. I hope you enjoyed the start of Command the Oceans. CTO for short, the name was partially inspired by a book I read a few years ago.


9/10/2017

Turn 3!

Mission reaches Pistol Island at the helm of the Cassandra:


Notice the distinctive shape, hence where the island gets its name:


Wow!  All three Pirate ships reach wild islands in the same turn!  The Smiling Jim reaches one of my older custom islands while the Fancy docks at a classic from Rossinaz.


The Jade Rebels explore their island, making it their new home!  They are slightly disappointed to not find any resources or gold on it, but they like the thought of using that cave to hide valuables....


Introducing: Diamond Rock!

The incredible historical creation is here!!

This had been an idea of mine for quite a while.  After creating a custom fort for use in my RISK game back in 2012, I had considered trying to make a physical version of the rock.  However, between my lack of desire to spend many hours attempting to create a realistic copy, and the similarities between the stuff created by Ross in AZ and the pictures of the rock, I decided to reach out to Ross and ask about potentially making a physical copy of Diamond Rock for use in Pirates games.  Shortly afterwards I now own one of the coolest custom game pieces ever made for this game!!


HMS Apollo docks at the massive rock, while the Viceroy stands guard.

(note: the Sea of Allost and the Caribbean are in a room formerly occupied by a female, so just a heads-up if you ever see decidedly feminine things in the background of pictures lol!)

Ross did a fantastic job making a lifelike Diamond Rock, and I'm extremely excited to use it in my games!  Note the cave on the side, which is where the Royal Navy was able to install some artillery on their "ship" during the Napoleonic Wars.


The Magdalena was approaching the rock, but with the dangerous Viceroy in position, the Spanish may think twice about attempting to land at the single beachy area (another historical touch, as most of the island was inhospitable to ships).

As Mickey ironically watches over his own Caribbean franchise, wondering where the Pirates are....

Deja vu!  The Royal Navy reaches Diamond Rock first, and claim it as their own.  The Viceroy's rows of bristling guns serve to back up that claim.


Notice the cave beyond the beach along with the foliage, which looks remarkably similar to the real thing.  (I highly recommend looking at pictures and old paintings of it, since it's so unique and cool)


The Spanish arrive!, but alas they appear to be too late.


O_O  
Imposing indeed!  (click the picture to get the full size version!)


I turned the camera to get this cool shot, which I feel is one of the most realistic of the game so far.  A sloop comes around the side of Diamond Rock, whose bulk obscured a large English warship lurking beyond.  Almost makes you feel like you're actually sailing around the rock!


Obviously I can't get enough of this awesomeness!  However, that is all of Diamond Rock for now, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we already have.


The San Estaban turns around, hoping to meet with her other ships and discuss their findings of the area.


The crew of the Ebro is thinking the same thing:


The Soleil Royal prepares to give her fish to the Marianne, allowing her to return to the island and get more and maximize French logistics.


The flash makes it less natural, but it does show the pretty colors of the French ships and the "deep blue" sheen of this unique silky ocean fabric I also used in the Experimental cumulative game.


The Americans explore the wild island and make it their home!


Back in the Sea Allost, turn 4 begins with a Pirate exploration!  Mission fittingly uncovers metals on Pistol Island, filling the Cassandra to the brim.


With all three Pirate ships docked as of last turn, it would inevitably lead to all three exploring on this turn!  The Smiling Jim finds textiles:


And the Fancy finds Spices!


With three different resource types on nearby islands, the Pirates are now set up for long-term wealth.  A great start for them indeed!


The Jade Rebels sail away from their home island for the first time, heading west.  The eastern path is blocked by a giant wall of dense fog....


Back in the Caribbean, the Apollo explores and finds textiles!  The Viceroy docks at Diamond Rock to load some as well.


Now the Spanish are just plain jealous! LOL!


The Spanish have a fleet meeting to discuss their exploratory operations.  The San Estaban's captain remarks that he found reefs and rocks and turn for home.  The Ebro found similar things, but also a mysterious weedy mixture in the ocean to the northeast of their HI.  The Magdalena reported on finding the gigantic Diamond Rock, as well as the English who had gotten there first.  The captains began brainstorming ways to get resources and simultaneously force the English out of the region....


With an eastern viewpoint this time, we are back in the Sea of Karkuda where the French are hungry for more food!


Shimmering blue waters surround beautiful ships and a similarly beautiful, "fruitful" island.


The Americans do some exploring of their own!  The Argo heads back to Luck Island so she can investigate it, while the Bonhomme Richard quickly discovers a new island.  Although small, Brent Rice names it Ruby Island due to the reddish hue that appears near the island's edges.


Thank you for reading.  Please let me know what you think of the game so far, and stay ready for more!

9/11/2017

Play has continued!  For the most part, it looks like my schedule will allow me to play at least one turn per day for the foreseeable future, which in this case is about two weeks.

Looking west for a change, you can see the Pirate fleet returning home to their kingdom.


The Jade Rebellion has found a wild island near their home island!


The English leave a little surprise for any potential comers - Major Peter Sharpe is stationed on Diamond Rock's only beach!  Thomas Gunn dropped him off with instructions to stay hidden but shoot at any opposing ship that tried to dock.


With the Ebro in the lead, the Spanish form a line and start sailing along the side of Diamond Rock.  The San Estaban is prepared to defend her gold runners from the English if necessary. The Spanish are continuing their somewhat cautious strategy, not sending their gold runners out too far by themselves and now not going where the English just sailed.  They don't know about Sharpe's presence, but they seem to have made a good decision so far....


The crew of the Ebro anticipate potential danger on the far side of the rock:


With extremely valuable food on board, the Soleil Royal and Marianne hurry back into their Harbor to unload and cash in:


The Argo reaches the low point of Luck Island while the Bonhomme Richard explores Ruby Island, finding luxuries!  I'm using a tobacco token to represent luxuries for now.


Back to Allost, where the Pirates are about to get home.  From the main topmast of the Cassandra, the Fancy unloads her spices at the northern arch of the kingdom.


Spices are still nearly worthless, so Mission's Pirates have to wait another turn to think about launchings.


The Grand Wind explores the island and finds textiles!


The power of the Royal Navy, seen at deck level.  Run out the guns!


The Ebro leads the Spanish around the sargasso sea she found earlier, and you can glimpse the Apollo beyond Diamond Rock to the right.


In search of new islands, the Spanish forge onward in the shadow of Diamond Rock.


From the San Estaban's mainmast, the other side of Diamond Rock:


The Argo finds spices on Luck Island!


Tough to get these shots since the hole is so small, but you can glimpse the Argo's mizzenmast sail from the hole in Luck Island, where spices have been found.


The first launching of the game!  The Cassandra and Smiling Jim docked home some good resources and cashed them in for 29 gold.  Mission gets his own ship at last, the Crusher! He also ordered construction of the Doombox, a nice flotilla from the same super rare pack.  However, the Crusher won't tow the Doombox since she'd lose the speed bonus provided by her new helmsman.


Mission transfers his flag from the Cassandra to the Crusher, as the Crusher is now the Pirate flagship.  The Cassandra will continue to gather lots of resources, and Mission made sure to hire crew that would maximize her effectiveness in that role.


Here you can see the shakeup.  Mission boards the Crusher with a new captain and helmsman, but makes sure to outfit his old ship with good crew to not leave her forgotten.  Indeed, the Cassandra is more effective than before, with potential for 6S speed between the helmsman and Gunner's SAT ability.


The Grand Wind sails the quick trip home, while the Sea Snake loads some textiles of her own:


Grand indeed!  Couldn't resist this closeup.  I've always loved how the 6 masted junks look.


Spending 16 gold, the English purchase HMS Half Moon with a helmsman, as well as the first army units of the game!  Two infantry units will board the Apollo, while the artillery cannon has been taken aboard the Viceroy.


The English know where they're going with the new units, and I guess there's not much to speculate about even for you as the reader!  XD


Wow!!  Spanish patience pays off!  They find a tropical paradise deep in the Caribbean, complete with a waterfall and trees!  The Spanish name it Paradise Island. (note: this island is not connected with the Paradise Island scenario some of you may have seen before, and the name will not likely remain after this game)


The current Spanish view of Diamond Rock, showing the imposing back area and the impressive height.


Paradise found?  Perhaps, but the Spanish will have to spend some time exploring it to discover what the island has in store for them.


Finally we are back in the Sea of Karkuda!  The French dock at nearly the same spots they started the game at, and cash in their fish/food/bananas for 24 gold!  They spend it all on two basic things: Le Lyon, a 4 masted schooner with good speed and cargo space, and their first dock purchase!


The French have much more room to expand, but are happy with their progress so far.


Such potential awaits....


For now, we end with the Americans and their resource gathering.  However, it won't be long until more things happen.


9/12/2017

I was only able to play one turn today, but there should be an absolute intensive flurry of turns over the next 3-4 days.

Gunner succeeded on his first SAT roll, allowing the Cassandra to leave Mission's Pirate Kingdom at 6S and reach Pistol Island again!  You can also see Mission leaving in the Crusher.


On the northern side of the kingdom, the Fancy loads more spices while the Smiling Jim sails out with Doombox in tow.


The Grand Wind returns home with textiles and the Jade Rebels have their first launch!  The Virtuous Wind is built, and crewed with a helmsman for now.


An impressive sight: the English, sailing straight back to Diamond Rock with their new ship and the first army units in play.


Paradise indeed!  The Ebro explores Paradise Island, finding not just gold, but metals as well!  She and the San Estaban load some coins, while the Magdalena loads a coin of her own and a metal token.


With an Admiral's Action given to the newly launched Lyon, the French set out in force.


The Bonhomme Richard loads more luxuries from Ruby Island and the Argo docks home her spices.  Those resources are the least valuable right now, but this was the last turn of the first 8, and the first resource change will occur on the next turn!


9/13/2017

Today I was able to play a whopping 10 turns!!  Naturally this will be one of the longer reports.

The day of play started with the first resource change of the game!  A 3 was rolled, meaning that textiles were the most valuable resource and completely tanking and metals and fish markets.  These values would hold for 7 turns, another average duration roll after 8 turns for the first roll.


Mission sails by Pistol Island in the Crusher:


An overhead view of Mission's kingdom.  Their resources have changed, with textiles now being more valuable than metals.


The Jade Rebels launch another ship, the Sea Serpent.  She is tasked with finding new islands in an exploratory mission.  Crewed with a cannoneer and smokepot specialist, she can use her reverse captain ability to duck into a smokebank if she gets into trouble.




The English approach Diamond Rock again.  They already consider the island theirs, and want to make that clear to any who sail Caribbean waters.  To the left, the Ebro uses her ability to take a shortcut home over the sargasso sea.


In the Sea of Karkuda, France's newest ship, Le Lyon, loads fish from the wild island.


Another turn begins, and it's a profitable one for the Pirates!  Mission gets an extra action, allowing the Crusher to dock at and explore a golden island!  First used in my Economy Edition game but no longer within the Lagoon, this island will feature replenishing gold stores once more.  You can see part of the haul Mission got, which also included the Jade UT.


With 3 spaces already occupied by crew, this unfortunately meant that the Crusher couldn't load any actual gold coins, but Mission certainly had plans on what to do with the other UT's.


Wow!  The Jade Rebellion spends some gold to purchase the Grand Dynasty, the first ship in the South China Seas set and unofficial flagship of their faction.  


The growing Jade Rebellion fleet.  Their textiles spiked to 6 in value with the resource change, so they'll be drowning in gold in no time with an island so close to their HI.  XD


The English dock all three of their ships at Diamond Rock, and true to their objective, unload all three army units there as well!  Now Peter Sharpe has some company, and can breathe a sigh of relief. He won't have to defend the lone beach all by himself anymore.


Remember that while shooting at ships, the infantry act as a 3S cannon that can only eliminate crew, and the artillery acts as a regular 2L cannon fired from the shore.  Pretty good firepower to defend a small beachhead with, especially if the Spanish are the first to contest it as the Spaniards are off to a bit of a slow start.


Speaking of the Spanish, there they are!  All three ships make their way home from Paradise Island.


Yes the Americans are still sailing about!  In fact they are doing quite well for themselves, having launched the Bellevue with a chieftain and helmsman along with a set of their incredible native canoes.


Mission gets another EA and is able to explore the outbound Cassandra, transferring Smuggled Goods, Jade, and Plunder from the Crusher.  Mission hopes to return to the gold island and plunder it himself, while the Cassandra can maximize resource profits back home with the other runners up north.


The Grand Wind loads up on textiles, while the Sea Serpent's crew say goodbye for the time being.


The Virtuous Wind is busy running textiles with the Grand Wind and Sea Snake, but the Grand Dynasty is tasked with defending the home island and investigating the fog to the east of it.


The English depart from Diamond Rock, promising Peter Sharpe and the troops stationed there that they'll be back with more ships AND supplies before long....


Already a well-defended position, the English have staked a claim on one of my new favorite custom islands.


The Spanish bring back a somewhat meager supply of gold from Paradise, but use it to purchase the Armada flotilla.  It's assigned to the Ebro, as Alejandro Malaspina has a plan. With the metals on Paradise being virtually worthless all of a sudden, the San Estaban can once more sail east in an attempt to find new lands.  In the meantime, the new flotilla can provide adequate defense for the two sloops in case the English come too close.


The Soleil Royal sailed past some fog, but now she's found another island!  It looks hospitable, with much greenery.


The Bonhomme Richard and Bellevue go for safety in numbers, wondering what they'll find north of their home island.


The Cassandra takes off for the textiles island, as it's now the most valuable resource the Pirates have access to.


After cashing in two more loads of textiles, the Jade Rebels launch the Sea Duck and Sea Tiger:


A new area found by the exploring Sea Serpent... what happened here??  The air became a bit colder, and almost clammy, when the crew aboard the Sea Serpent glimpsed the first icebergs.  However, it was clear that something had gone very wrong here... there were ships embedded in the ice, as if the ships had crashed headlong into them without warning.  The "icewrecks" (instead of shipwrecks), as the crew called them, appeared to be in a bad state of disrepair, with masts snapped off violently at the base.


You can see how the Sea Serpent has only gone a little bit beyond JR territory, but already is in a seemingly different world.  With textiles valuable through both resource rolls, the JR's have simply had no reason to venture very far past their home island in any direction.


Almost immediately afterwards, and one of the icebergs heads straight for the Sea Serpent!!  The crew cannot change course fast enough and the ship is hit! Luckily it wasn't a fatal blow, as the Sea Serpent only lost her mizzenmast in the collision.  However, the crew remain puzzled by the development, as it seemed as though the "icewreck" had a mind of its own and knew they were there....


Heeled over to starboard from the sudden impact, the crew of the Sea Serpent were startled for a brief moment.


The Magdalena finally returns home, just as the San Estaban sets out to finish her original mission.  More determined than ever, a few rocks and reefs won't stop her crew this time!


The Spanish hope that Armada is enough of a deterrent for any potential foes.


The canoes have redocked and loaded up a ton of luxuries, and are now headed home where the Argo is piling up the spices:


In the meantime, the Bellevue and Bonhomme Richard approach a new island!


A rare northern view of the Pirate Kingdom, showing the Smiling Jim at an entrance and the other Pirate resource gatherers collecting as many textiles as possible before the resources change again.


The Grand Dynasty sails east of the JR home island, but simply finds a dense wall of fog as reported by Warlord Cavendish aboard the Grand Wind.  The Noble Swan joins her, but she has been tasked solely with HI defense.


The waters directly west of the JR HI are busy, with ships coming and going for textiles:


In an impressive display of courage, the crew of the Sea Serpent soldier on despite missing a mast:


Field day for the English!  They manage to put 3 new ships in the water: HMS Burma, HMS Durham, and HMS King John.  They also repeat their earlier purchase of army units, hiring two more infantry and one more artillery unit.


The English are becoming an impressive faction:


The English home island, with a nice spiral leading to the top:


Here you can see what's on board the new ships.  Gunn has a wacky plan for the Burma's grapple shot....


In a brilliant afternoon sun, the Ebro leads the Spanish back to Paradise Island.


Back in the Sea of Karkuda, the Soleil Royal explores the new island.  A round lake surrounds a ring island with a pond on it. However, in a disappointment for the French, more food is found!  Not only is the fish resource not currently valuable, but France now has two nearby islands with the same resource, which can be bad since they will not always be able to rely on it.


Luxuries are worth a decent 4 gold apiece right now, but with 10 tokens coming in all at once due to the canoes, the Americans consider cashing in a no-brainer.  The Roanoke and Louisiana make their entrances, along with their first army unit.


The cautious Brent Rice decides to dock with the Bellevue to confront any hidden dangers at the new island head-on.


A grand view of the Grand Dynasty, whose crew is puzzled by the prevalence of fog east of the JR HI.


In an early-game mass exodus, the English leave their home island in force.  The Burma carries the new artillery cannon after her captain takes up temporary residence in Thomas Gunn's flagship, the Viceroy.  He enjoys his stay in Gunn's company, but is eager to return to command his own vessel.


Similar to the JR Sea Serpent, the King John is tasked with exploring areas unfamiliar to the current fleet.


The Apollo has a dual mission: shadow the King John in the case of needed backup, but grab textiles from Diamond Rock if all seems safe.  The Half Moon is headed straight for the rock along with the rest of the English fleet.


The San Estaban sails around the rocks that had previously stopped her!  She avoids a sargasso sea, and passes what looks like a somewhat active volcano on her trip through the Caribbean.  But will she find anything valuable?


Note: this was a rock I painted a long time ago, possibly before I got into Pirates.  It's a perfect and easy addition to my game here!


The Wasp is the latest American ship:


The Bellevue and Bonhomme Richard explore the beach without difficulties and are happy to find food!  This makes fish a popular resource in the Sea of Karkuda, with the French finding it on both of the islands they've explored.  The Louisiana and Roanoke are headed for a different beach however.


This was a fun shot to get.  Looking north, you can see the new Pirate launchings in the dual archways.  The Crusher and Cassandra docked home on the same turn, giving the Pirates a minor windfall.  The Golden Medusa is launched with the Widowmaker flotilla in the south, while the far ship facing north is the Fool's Gold, a ship that is very new to my collection.  I also like how the picture shows the weathered but weedy look of the rock the kingdom was made out of.


Ah yes - the Pirates also purchased their first army units, but have no current plans to use them yet other than for harbor defense.


Predictably rich with valuable textiles coming in almost every turn, the Jade Rebels continue their launching run, this time buying the Admiral Yi and Hansan Island turtle ships.


South of Diamond Rock, the King John finds a barrier of reefs and a big rock:


From the mizzenmast of HMS Apollo, a beautiful view of the Caribbean.


Diamond Rock is about to get crowded, but not all the ships sailing there intend to dock.  At this point you are welcome to view a little "introductory"/tour video of Diamond Rock.


... the Spanish do not find land!  Instead they come upon what looks to be a shipwreck...


And it is!  Similar to the golden island in the Sea of Allost, the Duke shipwreck was originally created for my 2015 Economy Edition game, but is such a great piece that it can be reused quite a lot.  You can hear a little bit more about the backstory in another short video.


Karkudian waters:


The Americans dock at a gold-laden beach, but will they find anything interesting?


After 7 turns, it was time for another resource change!!  I rolled all three dice at once, with a 5 coming up for value just like the initial roll!  The values of the first 8 turns of the game would now hold for the next 9 turns. The factions who were originally well-off in terms of resources would be happy once more.  This hurt the English and Jade Rebels slightly, but textiles were still worth 4 gold apiece. The French were overjoyed, since their food was worth 6 again and they weren't hurt by having two islands producing the same resource.


The Fool's Hope sets out for the first time ever, accompanied by the Cassandra as they pass the Smiling Jim and Doombox:


With metals worth 5 again, the Golden Medusa knows where she's going: Pistol Island.  However, Mission is getting a bit of goldlust and sets a course for the golden island.


Not even spending all the gold they take in, the Jades launch two more ships.  The Sea Wind will be a crewless resource runner, while the Divine Wind is outfitted to be a patrolling warship.


The Jade Rebels off to a strong start:


Back in the Caribbean, Gunn's plan becomes clear!  While on their way to Diamond Rock, the crew of the Burma managed to rig a cannon to fire at a dramatic upward angle.  They loaded a grapple shot inside, and shot the cannon towards the cave halfway up the rock! The first part of the plan worked, as the shot hooked onto part of the rock and no one was injured in the process.  The crew had managed to somehow line a pulley system with the grappling hook, and now attached a hook to the cable in order to fasten the cannon below the line and begin hauling it up after the cable was also secured aboard the Burma.


Here the English try to rig a cannon into a cave on Diamond Rock.  What a scene.

(as a bemused Mickey watches from afar)

The crew of the Viceroy cheer while the Durham and Half Moon load up on textiles:


Oh no!!  Disaster for the English!  The cable wasn't strong enough for the 24 pounder cannon, and the line broke, sending the valuable artillery piece into the sea!!  With a resounding splash, the English plan had failed. Gunn frowned, but was still determined to try other methods. He knew the potential long-term strategic value of dominating the rock, and began formulating other plans to make up for this embarrassment.


A view from the mainmast of the King John: HMS Apollo has glimpsed the volcano, while the Burma's crew are lucky the falling cannon didn't take anyone overboard in the accident.


The French use stores of food to get three of their best runners: the Bon Marin, Coeur du Lion, and Vengeance.


The Americans do some spending of their own, going the opposite route with some lesser-used ships.  The Minuteman is assigned to patrol/guard duty, though similar to the Grand Dynasty she will be doing some local exploring to scout the area.  The Colonial Trader will simply make trips to Luck Island at L speed but with 5 spaces available. She joins the Argo, and the Americans are planning to stockpile their spices until they skyrocket in value at some point in the potentially distant future.


The Roanoke's crew explored the new beach at the big island up north, but were disappointed to find just 9 gold and no resources there.  Annoyed, the Louisiana docked at the fishy beach instead, loading up before the trip home.


An impressive sight: almost all the Jade Rebellion ships sailing in the same direction.  Why the almost part? The Sea Serpent still isn't back, and Warlord Cavendish is getting worried.  He has assigned a squadron of ships (the Divine Wind, Admiral Yi, and Hansan Island) to go west and find the lost ship.  Cavendish fears that the Sea of Allost may be living up to its name after all....


In the Caribbean, the Apollo has nearly taken over exploring duties from the King John, who hurries to rejoin her after being disappointed not to find anything interesting in the area south of the English HI.  With a relatively minor failure in the books, the English regroup and head home with most of their other ships. The Burma will need to reacquire a new cannon to implement a different plan Gunn has, while Gunn himself has the Viceroy load some textiles before joining the others.


After avoiding reef damages, the San Estaban explores the Duke shipwreck!  What an intriguing haul she got. The top row indicates what the San Estaban loaded, as she only had one open cargo space with a captain and helmsman aboard.  It remains to be seen just how useful some of those UT's will be in the Caribbean, but only time will tell....


After the Soleil Royal and Marianne dock, the French can cash in and spend again.  This time the Triton, Amazone, and Jeux are introduced. In a span of two turns France has tripled the size of her fleet from 3 ships to 9!


The helmsman is for the returning Lyon.  Note the nice dock height and how it interacts with the main deck of the Soleil Royal.  The other types of cardboard I have are higher but look good as well.


Gold rush?  The Jade Rebellion manages to dock FIVE runners at one island:


Part of the English plan is revealed!!  No those are not train tracks, but LADDERS!  These are special units, considered equipment, that cost 1 gold per L of ladder length.  Here the English have spent 3 gold to purchase 1L and 2L lengths of ladder, which they can cut as needed to the desired end length.  They are generally rope ladders that wouldn't look like they do here, but rather they'd be crumpled up to fit aboard ships. The English also purchase a new artillery unit, an oarsman, and a flotilla.  An odd launching turn overall: four different types of stuff, but no actual ships!


A unique view here, with the Apollo venturing further south as the King John rounds the reef and spots a tall stone pillar.  The crew aboard the Apollo see a strange swirling mass of water near them but dare not go closer.


Finally, at long last, the Spanish launch a new ship!  L'Aguila is ready to set sail, and provides a needed cargo and firepower boost to the Spanish cause.  She is only crewed with a helmsman for now, since they really need more money. The firepot specialist is hired to complete the crew complement aboard the San Estaban.  Malaspina is content to sit in port, especially since his lack of presence on the Magdalena allows the latter to bring in more metals.


The Americans get gold and launch the President with Commodore Edward Preble aboard!  This gives them a rerolling Admiral's Action, just like the French elsewhere in Karkuda.  The Minuteman is at the right, but has only encountered a wall of terrain so far, mostly reefs but with a bit of fog.  The canoes have altered course to maximize profit, heading for the food beach in the north. Infantry units are loaded aboard the Roanoke and Louisiana.


The Americans have done great lately, and it shows with their growing fleet.


With such a big day of turns and so much new stuff introduced, I thought it was a good time to do the first point count. (hopefully I'll remember to count ships as well next time)  In the order of play:

Pirates: 104 points
Jade Rebellion: 153
English: 117
Spanish: 55
French: 100
Americans: 163
Total: 692 points

The Spanish are the only faction really struggling, but at least they have a new ship now.  The JR and English have done well but each suffered a setback in the day's action, while the Americans have climbed into the lead and look to be very profitable in the long term.

9/14/2017

I should have noted in the previous report that some Command the Oceans content will be released earlier than these battle reports.  If you want to hear about things as soon as you can, make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my youtube channel.  There will also be some content exclusive to those apps.

I was able to play 6 turns today!

The Crusher has already loaded a coin from the gold island... when a mysterious new ship appears!!


It's a GOLD ship!


Mission and his crew stare in awe and wonder.  The ship docks briefly at the island but the Pirates are too stunned to man their stations!  The ship appears to glow with her appearance:


And just like that, the ship disappears!  Mission and his crew are left awed but confused by the near encounter with the strange ship.  However, they soon discover that the gold-laden island is brimming with new treasure!!


Worried about the Sea Serpent, who seems to have disappeared without a trace, the Jade Rebels follow orders from Warlord Cavendish and send a squadron of three ships in the direction the Serpent went on her exploratory assignment.


The Apollo discovers the Duke shipwreck, but just misses the San Estaban:


The English hire the Lady Provost with converted textiles from the Durham, and plan to pick up the ladder equipment with the Viceroy.


The San Estaban sails around the obstacles that block her path home:


The Aguila passes the Magdalena, while the Ebro looks to find a faster route to Paradise Island:


The French spend some gold to launch the Glaive and Le Musarde, in addition to buying some army units.


With food currently worth 6 gold per token, the French are understandably quite hungry!  Here they hoard the island:


The American resource system, which is in full swing.  At the far right, the Minuteman is finding yet more reefs and consults with Preble on the President.


The Pirates have valuable metals come in and go on a spending spree.  They opt for some ships with extremely large cargo holds - the Darkhawk II and the Pandora.  The Otter and Mermaid are also launched. Notice that the Pirate army units are now gray, as I had them mixed up earlier.  The Jade Rebellion will have the green units.


The excited crew aboard the Crusher can't wait to tell their fellow pirates about what they saw and the vast treasure in store for them at the golden island.


Making good speed towards the west, the Divine Wind, Admiral Yi, and Hansan Island sail past the icewrecks.  The bergs don't move at all.


With a large influx of gold due to somewhat valuable textiles, the Jade Rebellion is too overwhelmed to spend it all!  However, two new turtle ships enter the game: the Dragon's Talon and Proud Tortoise.


The crew of the King John spot the San Estaban!  In an act of hostility, the King John sails over and rakes the Spanish ship by the stern, hitting the ship with both shots and sending two masts overboard!! (I forgot about the two hits per mast rule for this broadside, since I essentially haven't used that rule since my 2013 CotE game)


The first shots of the game have been fired in the Caribbean!  The Apollo comes over to assist the King John if she needs it, but doesn't have a captain aboard.


Spain's best ship from Economy Edition is not faring well so far in Command the Oceans:


A closeup view of the perfect angle the English had in their attack.  You can almost smell the smoke from the guns! XD


The Spanish back home aren't yet aware of the newly hostile English, and launch El Rafael with a helmsman to gather resources and/or gold.  She's an underrated ship capable of playing an under-the-radar hybrid game.


Back in Karkuda, the Freedom is launched by the Americans!  She is crewed with pirate hater Ralph David, a captain, helmsman, and cannoneer.  RD immediately begins asking if anyone has seen any pirates lately. He seems to be extremely angry about something and orders his crew to get ready to sail with all speed.


"Time to hunt a pirate".  


Speaking of Pirates, check out this exodus from Mission's Kingdom.  Not all the ships can get out at once, which is one of the weaknesses of having such a strong defensive haven - getting inside is nearly impossible for invaders, but the small entrances make leaving the hideout very difficult after a bunch of ships are launched!


The Jade Rebels find themselves engulfed by dense fog:


With the damaged San Estaban predictably fleeing the scene, the English turn around to check out why the Spanish were in the deep south of the Caribbean in the first place.  The crew of the Apollo show the crew of the King John the Duke shipwreck, and discuss whether or not they should try to land near the reef.


The Lady Provost picks up resources for the first time, while the Burma and Viceroy return to the scene of their recent miscue.


A wider shot of the Caribbean, as I will admit that you have now seen pretty much the entire Caribbean.


A spending spree by the French!  From 60 gold they purchase two new docks for their Harbor, in addition to a trio of 3 masters from Crimson Coast.


As more ships are launched, the Harbor is becoming more and more useful.  The French resource system is working great, but they're still not satisfied!


Ships coming and going, new docks being built, ships being launched - it's a busy scene at the Harbor!


The crew of the Wasp are disappointed to find that the luxuries found on Ruby Island have run out!  This is a setback for the Americans, and proves that some islands may not simply produce the same resource to infinity.


In a fittingly dark picture, the Freedom makes all sail towards the whirlpool with a brooding Ralph David at the helm.  Perhaps she will be the first ship to try a whirlpool?

When word came to him that his new bride had been killed by Blackheart, something broke inside David. This long-standing “gentleman of the south” began to sell off his land to gather a personal fleet to rid the seas of pirates. His money ensures he always has a ship ready and willing to go to “war.”

In the shimmering waters of Karkuda, the Minuteman's crew find yet MORE reefs.  It seems as though their area is boxed in by the terrain, which could pose a problem for them....


Similar to the French, the Americans are sending lots of cargo ships to the valuable food area.


The Cassandra is the first ship to return to the golden island after the "gold ship" visited!  Mission told Gunner about the immense riches, and Gunner replied that he would surely sail straight there.


Oh my god, an absolutely incredible haul!!  On the coins, from right to left:
-That coin on the right is painted gold with the same paint I used for the gold island and the golden ship.  There are a few variations of these coins in play. The ones that have no number on them (the 1 is only just visible since some of the paint has worn off) are gold on both sides, and are worth 100 gold.  O_O
-I will be using the same "shiny" rules as I did for my Economy Edition game from 2015, which means shiny silver is worth 3 times its printed value and shiny gold is worth 2 times its printed value.
-You can't really tell from this picture, but that 6 on the left is actually a "ghost coin" from the DJC SR UT card (The Cursed).  These coins are worth normal value but they give the ship carrying them the Ghost Ship keyword. It functions like the regular keyword (as in, it's optional to use the effect or not), but as soon as the coin is not on the ship, the keyword cannot be used.

For those of you keeping score, that means that the Cassandra now has 124 points' worth of gold on board!!

The Pirates leave the kingdom, while the "King" himself (Mission) returns to it.  Notice the Golden Medusa had left the Widowmaker flotilla by itself, which turned out to be a mistake since it was getting in the way of logistics.


Breaking their own record for this game, the Jade Rebels manage to dock SIX ships at the same resource island on the same turn!




...

O_O

The trio of JR ships emerge from the fog, and find... what looks like the gates of Hell itself!!  O_O


RRREEEEEEE!!!

With a hideous shriek and the deep sound of huge beating wings, a giant creature appears before the Jade Rebels!!


With a huge wingspan that covers the entire width of the "gate", the creature shocks everyone in the JR squadron.


The sun unexpectedly comes out from behind a cloud, and the rebels turn stone-faced with fear.  SHAL-BALA IS HERE! Without warning the dragon attacks!!


In a sudden charge, Shal-Bala flies at high speed towards the Jade Rebellion squadron!  Wings bowl over masts. A huge neck scatters debris and bodies everywhere. Defensive panels of the turtle ships are crushed when the dragon uses them as a springboard to launch into the air.

Here you get a unique view: looking down and backwards as Shal-Bala ascends into the skies.  Extreme wreckage is immediately evident: the Hansan Island is dismasted and sinking, while the Admiral Yi is capsized.  The Divine Wind seems to have survived the attack only due to her size and weight, but she still loses her foremast in the surprise blast attack.


Oh my god!  No! The dragon isn't done!!  Now swooping back in from the northeast, the dragon returns to finish the job!  The landing in the water sends more debris flying as the capsized Admiral Yi is displaced to land partially on top of the Divine Wind!  However, though the Jade Rebels never in their most horrid dreams could have expected this, they knew they were going into unknown territory which may have taken the Sea Serpent earlier!  As a result, the guns were preloaded in the case of any emergencies! A few gunners lived to fire off a few shots on the starboard side!


Hissing and shrieking, the dragon has its tail shot off!!  This prompts a quick escape, as the dragon immediately ascends into the gloom, leaving the few survivors of the Divine Wind paranoid that another attack will come soon.


Well then.  Enough of the Sea of Allost for one day, eh?

Back in Caribbean waters, the English launch HMS London for patrol duty and grab the Starbuck as another resource runner.


Completely predictable by now, but considerable English operations are once again underway at Diamond Rock.  Gunn is going to try his next strategy.


The Apollo's crew decide to risk the reef surrounding the Duke shipwreck, and are rewarded when the shallow draft ship is undamaged:


Completely in the shadow of Diamond Rock, the Aguila loads resources for the first time.


The damaged San Estaban returns home with a shiny silver 6 worth 18 gold.  This allows for the purchase of a new gunship, and the captain of the San Estaban makes sure its a vessel that can take on the English ships in the south, namely the King John.  He knows just the man for the job, and the Matthias Vospero is launched. (she gets +1 to cannon rolls against the English)
Capitan Raphael Vospero has taken a vow to avenge his brother, whose ship was sunk by HMS Viceroy. Vospero uses his access to naval intelligence reports to mask his quest as service to the Crown.  Vospero not only hates the English, but has a personal issue with the Viceroy as well!


Within a few days the French have gone from a 3 ship operation to having one of the biggest fleets!  They really lucked out when food returned to its position as the most valuable resource, as it was for the first 8 turns.  They are taking FULL advantage of it, as ships are launched as soon as the food is cashed in for gold and they continue to optimize their impressive resource fleet.  At the lower left, the Lyon unloads the first army unit to touch soil. You may also notice some new ships docked near the Harbor entrance...


... two of France's finest!  Two of my favorites as well. The Dauphin Royal is crewed to her point capacity, with Monsieur Lenoir, Phillipe Amqui, a captain, a helmsman, and an oarsman all coming aboard.  She is tasked with one job: explore new territory! The French know their food won't be immensely valuable forever, and indeed another resource change is coming soon. They need to have other resources available in the future, and so the French are finally looking to expand beyond their main wild island if they can find other islands.  Joining her on the expedition is La Dijon, a good gold runner from the Frozen North. Her crew are eager to help the Royal find new lands, and the Dijon provides the cargo capacity to show off any new findings when she returns home.


Ralph David is so angry and ready to kill Pirates that he steers the Freedom directly into the whirlpool south of the American home island!!  What could happen next?!


So, I will be using some special whirlpool rules in this game.  As you know or have deduced by now, the factions playing don't know who else is out there on the seas with them.  They are discovering things just as you are. In fact, the English and the Spanish are the only factions who know about each other, though the Jade Rebels now know that a sea dragon is also out there, somewhere.  In addition, the factions don't really know where they're going when they travel, hence the need to explore to find things. As there are 3 oceans in this game, there needs to be a way to travel between oceans or I'd be essentially playing 3 separate games.  However, who said whirlpool travel was remotely safe or predictable?? The factions not only aren't aware of how many other oceans there are, but they also don't know anything about them or where they are in the world.

Here are the whirlpool rules for Command the Oceans:
Assign numbers to the different whirlpools across all oceans.  When a ship enters a whirlpool, roll a d6. The number is the whirlpool the ship exits from.  Once a ship has rolled for the whirlpool, roll another d6 to determine which direction the ship will be facing when she emerges.  This follows the compass rose: 1-N,2-NE,3-SE,4-S,5-SW,6-NW. When a faction has used a whirlpool to travel to a new location, they can then travel to that location from that same whirlpool.

Now, time for a practical example!  The Freedom rolled a 3 for the whirlpool, which had her end up in the Caribbean!!  (We know that's not what Ralph David wanted, since we know the Pirates are in the Sea of Allost!  LOL!) She then rolled a 5 for direction, placing her right alongside the King John!! Now when the Americans go through that same whirlpool the Freedom entered (the one near their HI), they can choose to end up at the same whirlpool in the Caribbean.  If they want to emerge from any other whirlpool, they must roll to determine which one they get placed at. Hopefully that makes sense. If the whirlpool rules become too complicated for me to remember stuff, I will go to one of two extremes - either completely random whirlpool travel, or completely normal whirlpool travel.  (normal in this case meaning the standard rules apply where you can choose wherever you go all the time)


Aww come on!  XD The Argo and Colonial Trader dock at Luck Island, but the spices are gone!  The Americans have already drained two islands of their resources, but still have food up north.


The food is still viable, and the Americans have marked their beaches with infantry troops.  The Bonhomme Richard has a new task: go farther north around the big island and see what is on the other side.


The crew of the Wasp inform Commodore Preble about the shortage of luxuries on Ruby Island.  In the background, 4 canoes and the Louisiana have docked home 12 food tokens for a quick 72 gold payout!  This lets the Americans launch the Congress with some interesting stuff aboard, along with the Concord and Delaware with captains and helmsmen.


The Darkhawk II and Pandora head straight for the golden island, while other ships stop at Pistol Island to pick up metals:


A rare but cool shot of the northern arch and crags of Mission's Kingdom.  You can see the glitter on the Doombox.


Leaving a scene of death and carnage behind, the Divine Wind turns around and heads back into the fog.  Seems like a wise decision, no?


A confused and soggy Ralph David asks the crew of the King John if they've seen any Pirates in the area.  The English respond with a truthful no, and appear shocked that a ship could emerge unharmed from below the swirling water.  It was a very brief exchange, as David seemed to be in a rush. The English would normally have considered attacking, but the ship appeared so suddenly that the weren't ready.  In addition, the Freedom is much larger than the King John, and the Americans didn't seem unfriendly. The coins at the lower left are loaded by the Apollo from the Duke shipwreck.  The English crew aboard the Apollo are somewhat disappointed by the rest of the gold, and are suspicious that the San Estaban may have been carrying something of great value that they found first....


The Durham leaves the Tower flotilla to further improve the defenses around Diamond Rock, which are starting to look like overkill with almost no other ships even close in the area.  The Burma docks at the beach where Gunn is carrying out operations. His crew disembark with supplies, and begin work on the project.


The Matthias Vospero sets sail for the English, and the captain of the San Estaban promises to be right behind as soon as he finishes repairing the ship.


Commodore Preble inspects Ruby Island and is not surprised that it ran out of valuable resources due to its small size.  The newly launched Concord and Delaware join him, curious but quickly getting bored by the lack of combat in the area.


The Bonhomme Richard rounds the cape:


The Congress sails northeast, while William Eaton trains the infantry in shooting practice:


"We've got to get moving" remarks Ralph David, and suddenly the American schooner disappears into the Caribbean whirlpool!  The English are a bit puzzled by the quick and odd encounter, but agree that pirates are a bad thing that need eliminating.

With that, the Freedom goes back to whirling around!  This time she rolls a 2, and ends up in an undiclosed location.


Last turn of the day!  The Cassandra returns home and the Pirates spend a new in-game (meaning for this game) record of 132 gold in one turn, adding 8 to the 124 the Cassandra unloaded.  This fetches them a whole new fleet, which mostly consists of large hybrid ships.


O_O  Oh boy!  Look who's here: BLACK BART!  Bartholomew Roberts enters the game aboard his ship, the Royal Rover.  Off the starboard side of that ship is the Cutlass, a swift and accurate Pirate schooner.


The Fool's Gold departs the northern entrance, and you can see that the Eagle is one of the new additions.


An awesome closeup of the interior of Mission's Kingdom!  The Queen of Cups is introduced, but perhaps more interesting, the Pirates have purchased some ladders!  Notice how the walls are hollowed out near the waterline, allowing for smaller ships to hide deep in the bowels of the kingdom.


Along with the new Grand Barnacle, you can see why the Pirates needed some ladders - they are transporting some major equipment to the flat upper part of the kingdom!


Mission's Pirate Kingdom operations are in full swing, but what does this mean for the future??  Check out that brand new artillery cannon which was raised to the top. I'm absolutely loving these ladders, and these closeup shots really show how cool they look and how good the scale is!!


The Pirates purchased 3 1L lengths of ladder along with no less than 4 artillery units.  Clearly they have plans to optimize and fortify the kingdom, but operations are only just beginning.


The crew of the Divine Wind breathe a sigh of relief when the emerge from the fog on the better side:


Oh!  But as soon as the ship resumes her course home, she is slammed on her larboard quarter by another icewreck!!


The loud collision breaks off her foremast, and leaves the ship slightly off course and unable to complete her move action.  How strange!


Here we go!  Gunn's plan becomes evident, as climbers and hikers have scaled part of Diamond Rock to help erect a ladder.  It's a very busy spot, as the Half Moon and Starbuck come in for textiles. Peter Sharpe is starting to long for the "old days" when he was the only person on the rock!  XD


Gunn isn't surprised that the ladder can't reach the summit, but he is happy with the progress thus far.  In addition, we know he's got a bigger ladder with a length of 2L! However, it may take some time to get it properly installed and safe for use.


The Apollo sets sail for the long journey home, while the King John guards her against any incoming whirlpool shenanigans and even the Spanish if they happen to appear.


The Burma gets out of the way so the resource gatherers can dock, but her crew are getting annoyed with how long the operations are taking at Diamond Rock.  The crew of the London aren't bored yet since they are fresh hires, but that ship is simply on patrol duty to the north for now.


In a coincidence, 4 French ships reach their eastern food island at the same time!  Some troops are unloaded and many bananas are consumed before starting the short journey home.  XD


Well that didn't take long!  The Dauphin Royal finds a new island!


The French cash in food but decide not to launch for once, somewhat satisfied with their resource fleet.


A nice shot of the beauty of Karkuda and the French ships:


The Minuteman passes by the Congress, who has a mission that is almost ready to be carried out!


The Bonhomme Richard finds a beach on the northern side of the big island!


And that is that!  I understand there were a number of cliffhangers in this report, but as I said in the introductory post, all will be revealed in time.   You are seeing things as the factions see them, which I think is fun and keeps the suspense up. Today saw a lot of launchings, some interesting new discoveries, a mysterious gold ship, the appearance of a dangerous dragon, and weird whirlpool adventures.  And of course, the first shots were fired! Stay tuned to find out what happens next!

9/15/2017

A few things before I get into the main report:

-Forts can now be set on fire.  This is a house rule that started in my Experimental cumulative game and continues with the World ruleset.
The rules for flaming forts will work like this: instead of the fort rolling for each fire every turn, it rolls one die regardless of how many fire masts it has and regardless of whether the fort is given an action during the turn. The roll follows the regular rules for fire masts. The fort will be automatically destroyed if the fire consumes all 8 areas (not how many guns the fort has). A shipwright can only put out one fire per turn, but no flag is raised in the fire's place until another repair action is given.

-Unlike the Economy Edition rules, building a fort on an island does not shut down resource production on that island.

Clarifying the army unit rules in regards to hits from ships:
-Infantry units are eliminated by a single hit from a ship or fort, but artillery units follow the naval combat rules and must be hit twice overall to be eliminated.

-I am working on figuring out how to have factions launch things outside of their home islands.  This could be done a variety of ways, such as a military port from the Economy Edition rules or possibly a fort upgrade for 50 gold that lets a faction launch things from that fort with gold from it.

I was able to play 6 turns today!  (9/15)

It was time for another resource change!  The 3 meant that textiles were once again worth 6 gold apiece, just as they were after the first change.  The values would hold for 6 turns. This continued some trends: the value rolls have only been 5 and 3 through 4 different rolls.  They have alternated each time:
5 roll for 8 turns
3 roll for 7 turns
5 roll for 9 turns
3 roll for 6 turns
This also shows that the 5 roll keeps increasing in duration each time, while the 3 roll keeps decreasing in duration.  Fun coincidences!


Amongst his fellow Pirates, Bartholomew Roberts sets sail in the Royal Rover:


Logjam!  The Foresight cannot fully exit the kingdom due to the Grand Barnacle.


On the northern side of the kingdom, 3 large Pirate ships leave for the super valuable textiles out west.  Notice the army unit movements at the lower right: there is some mulling about and getting things "into position".


Still aghast at their encounter with Shal-Bala, the surviving crew of the Divine Wind make all sail towards the Jade home island!  The Proud Tortoise and Dragon's Talon immediately notice something is wrong, as the ship is missing two masts but more importantly, the crew are wide-eyed and white with fear.


Sounding the alarm!  The Jade turtle ships get the report from the Divine Wind, and understand the gravity of the situation.  Signal flags are raised, and the chain of messages ends with the Noble Swan docking at the home island and getting people in motion!


Warlord Cavendish catches wind (pun intended I suppose haha) of the situation, and orders a massive launch.  The Jade Rebellion springs into action! From their gold reserves they launch 7 ships including the Grand Temple and Grand Mountain!  They also hire some infantry and artillery to guard against raids by the beast that killed so many of their comrades aboard the Admiral Yi and Hansan Island.


Nearly the full might of the Jade Rebellion!  They are preparing for the worst - an all-out fight to the death with an ancient and powerful dragon!


The English making some big progress at Diamond Rock!  Using the 2L length of ladder from HMS Viceroy, they manage to rig it up to the summit!  However, getting people and equipment up there is another story, possibly one that will be fraught with peril.


Back at the bottom, you can just make out the two ladders, in addition to England's newest resource gatherers.  With textiles going from 4 to 6 in value, the English will have opportunities to spend big in the coming turns.


And indeed they spend immediately!  HMS Victor is launched with a captain and helmsman to patrol the waters around her HI, while the Cheshire is a multipurpose asset tasked with both collecting textiles and supporting equipment logistics at the rock.


Somewhat confused by their orders from the San Estaban's captain, the crew of the Matthias Vospero pass near the Tower flotilla, with neither side really knowing what to do.  The MV is searching for the King John but doesn't know the area well.


The Spanish were already struggling to put forth new ships, and the latest resource change meant their metals dropped to just 1 gold apiece.  Here they are frustrated, as the Aguila was about to cash in her haul of 4 metal tokens for 20 gold, but now they are nearly worthless.


Back in the Sea of Karkuda...

The Dijon finds luxuries!  This is great news for the French, since they only had found food until now.


The French resource system coming and going at the Harbor.  You probably notice a familiar-looking submarine there in the center...


Ohhhh wow... the French have hired Captain Nemo and the Nautilus!!


The French have a nice selection of hired crew on board, and this launching makes them the first faction to hire Mercenaries!  I had to include this picture just for the silly circus/frog/demon shipwright thing. XD (and the nearly as crazed captain and helmsman lol)




Now you can finally see the American plan!!  Dropping a loaded keg of gunpowder over the side, the Americans try to time their fuse correctly!  They are trying to blow up the reef and eliminate it!!


After finding reefs all along their eastern sea area, the Americans have grown frustrated.  Trying an idea cooked up by Commodore Preble and some of his captains, they have gotten into position.  If the lighted fused inside the barrel is too short, it may not reach the coral. If it's too long, water may seep into the barrel and put it out.  

The rules for attempted reef destruction are as follows: If a ship with Exploding Shot is within S of a reef, you may use this ship's action for the turn to drop a charge into the water.  Eliminate the Exploding Shot from the game and roll a d6. On a 1-3, nothing happens. On a 4-6, eliminate the reef from the game as well.


Just missed it!  The charge explodes but causes no damage to the reef:


The Minuteman confirms the failure and the Argo is ordered to load up more exploding shot for another attempt.  *No coral or animals were harmed in the making of this battle report. I do not condone the destruction of natural wildlife.  Blame Preble. End disclaimer.* XD


Brent Rice finds gold in the far northwest of Karkuda:


Back in the Sea of Allost, the Pirates have some army units lumbering into positions.


In a very impressive show of force, the Jade Rebellion battle fleet sets out!  Their goals are as follows: Definitively explore the region northwest of their home island.  Find the "gates of hell" and defeat any dragon that appears. Establish Jade dominance over Allost!


In the meantime, the textile gatherers flock back to the island, which has been very valuable all game (average (unweighted lol) resource value of 5 between the different changes) and the biggest reason the JR's were able to put forth so many ships immediately after the Divine Wind reported on the stunning developments.


The Grand Wind unloads more textiles for 24 additional gold, allowing for massive fortification of the Jade home island!  They are extremely determined to be as prepared as possible for any dragon attack. The home island is turned into a veritable fortress, with guns bristling everywhere and large amounts of musketry corps on alert.


Speaking of alerting, the crew of the King John relay information about the Spanish attack to other ships in the English fleet.  The news is received with some interest but little concern, as the English are growing confident in their considerable fleet operations, which seem to grow by the turn.


The Victor patrols the far southeastern reaches of this Caribbean, but sees nothing of importance, value, or danger.


Oops!  In her haste to catch up to the Matthias Vospero and get revenge on the English, the San Estaban gets stuck in a sargasso sea!  However, it could actually be for the better, since the Tower flotilla has some accurate extra-long-range cannons....


Exploring southwest of the French Harbor, the Dauphin Royal finds some terrain on her own travels:


With food plummeting in value but the new luxuries worth 4 gold apiece, the French concentrate their efforts at the new island.  The Nautilus has submerged and begun moving.


This is what Brent Rice found for the Americans on a northern beach of that big island.  However, the Bonhomme Richard only had room for the shiny silver 3, which would be worth a cool 9 gold.


The anti-reef operations continue, with the Argo preparing to deliver two loads of exploding shot to the Congress.  The Colonial Trader (at the bottom) has sailed north after the apparent demise of Luck Island.


In territory completely untouched by ANY faction, the crew of the Freedom pass by a shipwreck.  However, Ralph David has no time to waste finding trinkets!


Oh!!  Evidently the Freedom has been sailing in the Sea of Allost since her Caribbean escapade, for we can see her violently slamming into the Smiling Jim!!  Ralph David's anger turns to happiness as a pirate falls overboard:


Unfortunately for the Americans, even with a cannoneer and faction bonus against the Pirates, the Freedom only manages one hit on each "ship".  For now, flotillas will work as follows: it takes 4 hits to eliminate the flag, and 2 hits afterwards to sink it. (which follows the 2 hits per mast rule and the custom sinking rules)


Ouch!  Ralph David's sudden attack looks like a big mistake, as the Pirates arrive at the scene!  The crew of the Smiling Jim smartly redock to allow some shots from the Doombox before the 4 masters take over and pummel the Freedom.  Note: the tiny dice are used as damage counters, and the ones on ships don't matter which facing they have since it takes two hits to eliminate a mast.  However, the die on the Doombox should be at 1 (1 hit out of 4 required to take out the flag) instead of 6. It is very difficult to maintain this as ships are picked up and the dice constantly fall off and whatnot.  The counter is more important for derelicts, since that number is how many hits the derelict has taken.


RD arrived at a terrible time, just as fresh new Pirate hybrids were entering the area and right when the Pirates' textiles island became their most valuable producing asset.


New Pirate ships near their gold waterfall.  The Fool's Hope and Recreant enter play under the watchful eyes of the artillery troops.


The Jade Rebels charge ahead!  In a serious mood, they are eager to discover what has been plaguing their ships.  Two turtle ships become engulfed by fog, while the Typhoon is overeager and hits an iceberg.


The Grand Temple is in the lead but finds more fog!  What on earth could lie beyond?? The Jades don't know either, as the dense fog limits their sight to what you can see here:


Trepidation sets in as the Grand Temple disappears....


Even back at the textiles island, the fog seems to swirl and grow in intensity:


With a sudden whooshing sound, A BLADE DESCENDS FROM THE GLOOM!!  The Typhoon is hit by what looks like a giant ice pick! Hissing and screeching accompanies the sound of splintering wood, and the Scythe spears her prey!!


Ahh!!  At the left, an ice shipwreck surges forward and rams a regular iceberg, pushing it into the Clear Wind like a chain of dominoes!!  The bow of the ship is splintered by the impact, but another icewreck suddenly slams the ship's starboard quarter!


The Clear Wind is smashed up, but it only gets worse as the Crushed Skull appears!


Sailing in from the north, the Samedi's Curse appears with the Silver Coffin in tow!  However, the flotilla scores no hits.


I'll let you make of that what you want....

Vibe change: dark - light!  XD

Back to the Caribbean!  In a daring maneuver, the first men climb the ladder to the summit of Diamond Rock!!


And they're there!  The English claim sovereignty over Diamond Rock!


It wasn't easy and it took some time, but the English have found a way to get their troops up on the rock.


Excited by the development, the English spend a bunch of new gold back home.  They launch the Bretwalda, Sultan, and Honu Iki.


The sympathetic crew of the Matthias Vospero nearly hook a line to the San Estaban to get her out of the sargasso sea, but the SE's captain warns them away from getting stuck themselves!


The French flagships find a rocky piece of terrain, but it doesn't look hospitable to anything - resources or humans.


Ignoring common sense and any notion of sanity, Ralph David loses his mind and attacks the Fool's Gold!


The Pirates take their turn after the Americans once the next round starts, and here you can see they've taken care of the Freedom easily.  It seems like they would want to capture her, but Ralph David completely refuses to surrender.


The Grand Temple finally emerges from the fog, but finds herself alone and facing the so-called "gates of hell" described by the crew aboard the Divine Wind!  Scared for their comrades and hearing screams to the southeast, the Tsai has the GT turn around and head back the way they came.


She loses her larboard oars in the maneuver, but the Floating Stone manages to knock a mast off the Scythe!


The Crushed Skull is damaged as well, but the Jade 6 masters manage to sink the Samedi's Curse!


With desperate cries for help heard to the northwest, the Jades take in an IMMENSE quantity of textiles (19*6=114 gold) all at once and spend it all!  They have nearly run out of ships to launch from their own faction already, but here they turn to another minor faction: the Vikings! Sigurd Andersen boards the Polaris and offers Norse help to the Jades in exchange for payment.  In this way the Vikings function like mercenaries or privateers for this game. Both Viking icebreakers are launched for obvious purposes, and 3 impressive longships are also purchased.


The Scythe is relentless in her attack, slashing the Typhoon's final mast down!  The Jikininki comes out of the fog with her crew at a full howl! However, the boarding roll fails.  In the background you can glimpse the Grand Temple's position, but the Jades don't know she's there and she's still lost in the fog.  (another rare instance where you can see more than what the faction in question sees)


Ouch!  With a thunderous broadside, the Monkey's Paw officially enters the fray and blasts all the panels off of two turtle ships!


The Crushed Skull finishes dismasting the Clear Wind, and another Cursed ship has arrived: the Last Hope!  She makes her entrance by obliterating the Proud Tortoise:


After another action given to another infantry unit, the English have more troops atop Diamond Rock, in addition to a ladder.


You can just barely make out all three ladders the English have on the beach, though only one reaches the summit.


The Cheshire loads resources for the first time while at the right, you'd have to believe the Burma will try again but possibly with a different tactic this time....


Whoa!  Out of nowhere, the Matthias Vospero sails near the Viceroy and hits 2/2, with the second hit coming from fire shot!  


The other two Spanish shots missed the Tower flotilla.  At the left you can see why the Spanish attacked: the San Estaban is free!


Note: fire follows the 2 hits per mast rule for shooting, but follows the fire mast rules for spreading/elimination.  Basically, to set a ship on fire it has to be the second hit that actually eliminates the mast. However, if a fire mast spreads it spreads normally - it doesn't cause a damage marker or need a second bad roll, it just spreads like it would under the normal rules.  This way fire isn't a cheap way to ignore the 2 hits per mast rule, but it can still spread and be very effective.


O_O  
Just when the Spanish think their resource situation can't get worse, the GOLD ship appears!  Paradise Island lives up to its name once again!

The crew of the Aguila are just as awed and starstruck as those aboard the Crusher earlier

Back in Karkuda, a meeting of the minds.  Gaston, the French admiral aboard the Soleil Royal, consults with Lenoir, the commander of the Dauphin Royal.  Topics of their conversation include exploration, resources, and how far to venture into the unknown.


To the far west, the Americans fail again!  The Congress drops another exploding shot on a reef, but to no avail.


An impressive wide shot of the American fleet, which is entirely north of their HI since Ruby and Luck Island ran out of resources.


Black Bart's ship:


The Foresight's name is just visible between the masts:


Mission's flagship, the shiny and super rare Crusher:


With Ralph David refusing to surrender, the Pirates are forced to pour shot after shot into the Freedom to sink the ship and get it out of their way:


The Fool's Hope emerges from the kingdom:


The Queen of Cups acting as a guard ship under the ledge out front:


Teamwork!  Back in darker waters, Jade ships swarm the Monkey's Paw to eliminate two masts.


The Last Hope comes under intense fire, from the Dragon's Talon and Grand Mountain.  The Mountain scores a hit with exploding shot!


The Monkey's Paw flees into a fog bank...


... leaving her attackers strewn with wreckage!


With very loud creaking and groaning, the Scythe makes yet another blade attack on the Typhoon.  Incredibly, this time the blade actually begins to splinter the deck and hull of the ship!

Like a great beast rending bone from bone!

Oh no!  The Clear Wind has spent too long near the iceberg!  The ship seems to slip into an abyss, and becomes an icewreck herself!


A new Viking arrival narrowly avoids being hit by an icewreck:


The Cursed fight back, inflicting several hits on the Grand Mountain but still failing most shots with the Silver Coffin.


-Back to the Caribbean-

The horde of English ships part, making way for their flagship.  HMS Viceroy is Thomas Gunn's favorite, and is abandoning operations at Diamond Rock in a desperate attempt to get home.  The concerned sailors aboard the other ships look on helplessly. In fact, the Viceroy should have two fire masts here - I took the foremast out but forgot to add the fire.


The English get some measure of revenge!  The flotilla shoots and is followed by HMS Durham, sending three masts overboard in an effective display of English gunnery!


In the first army unit shoot action of the game, one of the 24 pounders on the beach of Diamond Rock dealt the sixth and final hit of the turn!


An ominous sight: hearing the gunfire, HMS London rounds the rock.


Seeing their inspirational leader in danger, the English troops are spurred onward by a desire to fulfill Gunn's wishes.  The ladder on top of Diamond Rock is lowered into position to reach the cave halfway up.


An impressive show of teamwork and logistics have gotten the English this far:


Fearing the worst, Spain's resource ships sail as far away from the London as possible.  The Ebro drops off her flotilla so it can guard Paradise Island. The Aguila and Rafael are content to go the long way if it means they get home safely.


The San Estaban was originally going to join the Matthias Vospero in the attack, but with the MV taking major damage, the Spanish decided to flee.


One of the widest shots of the game so far, with action finally erupting in the Caribbean.


After yet another failure, the Americans buy more exploding shot.  The third attempt was their third 3 in a row, meaning they have just missed rolling the 4-6 every time.  Preble orders the Colonial Trader to turn around and go check on the southern islands to see if they're producing anything valuable.


Last turn of the day!  With one more turn until another resource change, I was determined to finish strong and complete an entire resource duration round in one day.


With the Widowmaker flotilla nearby, the Cutlass guards the gold island and has orders to fire upon the gold ship and capture it if possible.  Mission has gotten over his shock and wants that ship for himself!


Mission's latest mission was to get the Widowmaker out to a spot where it can defend Pirate territory but not be a hindrance to fleet logistics (aka getting in the way of move actions).  He is now satisfied with its positioning. He then signals Bartholomew Roberts on the Royal Rover to return to the kingdom with all haste. The two pirates are planning to hire someone with great capabilities.


Pirate cargo ships on the move:


The Recreant is a great midsize gunship option:




After sinking the Freedom, the Pirates go back to their usual business of gathering resources.


The Smiling Jim receives an AA from Jean Laffite in order to move deep within the kingdom to repair.  As you could expect, ships can repair their partial damage as regular repair actions. However, if a ship is missing masts it can also repair those as normal.  The flotilla can repair its damage as well without having to lose its flag first.


Fearful of a possible dragon raid on the textiles island, Warlord Cavendish loads some infantry and artillery aboard the Grand Wind:


Damaged JR ships make their way past stunned resource runners.  The realities of war and combat become evident.


At the right, note that the Divine Wind has repaired and is returning to the northwest area.


Viking longships make way for the icebreakers:


More carnage up north, where the Last Hope and Silver Coffin take considerable damage:


Oh my god.  The Scythe cuts all the way through the Typhoon, ripping the ship apart and sinking her for good:

A truly horrendous scene, with bodies and blood everywhere.  Never had a Jade Rebellion ship met a more gruesome end.

An icewreck hits the Muninn!  Notice the Clear Wind in her new state at the left.


An effective Cursed counterattack!  All ships except for the Sea Lion take damage:


O_O

:shock:   Complete and utter disaster for the English!!  In a total shock, both fire mast rolls were 2's, resulting in the ship becoming totally engulfed by the flames!  Gunn's flagship will be no more.


Not only did this stun the English fleet, it was also an utter shock to me.  The Viceroy was the English flagship and the first ship selected for their fleet, and even this game possibly.  She was Gunn's favorite as well as being one of the most recent English acquisitions in my collection. After just two lucky hits from the Matthias Vospero, she was set alight, and now has rolled badly 3 times in a row to be completely doomed.


With most other ships sailing away to escape the huge flames and smoke, HMS Lady Provost approaches to rescue Gunn and the captain of the Burma:


The thick smoke nearly obscures HMS Sultan, who is trying to reach Diamond Rock and unload some brand new artillery units.


The English vow revenge, with HMS Bretwalda replacing the Viceroy and Durham at the scene of the skirmish.


The trigger-happy captain of the London is seething and just can't wait!  With one shot in range he finds his mark and lands a hit on the San Estaban:


Both Spanish gunships hurry home to repair their damages, but clearly a nasty conflict is likely just beginning.  The Spanish had won a major upset, but also made the English extremely angry.


Knowing the resources will change again soon, France is simply busy getting as many luxuries AND fish as possible.


A familiar scene, as the Argo loads exploding shot in order to supply the Congress.

(You can see some Wizkids tape at the upper left XD)

In a fitting end to this report, Ralph David's journey is NOT at an end!  His Eternal keyword has warped the Freedom back home.

I almost changed the Eternal keyword to be less powerful in this game, but I decided I didn't want to start messing with keywords in addition to changing many of the core rules.

A very interesting day of Pirating!  Clearly the bloodiest day yet, with conflicts erupting in the Sea of Allost and the Caribbean.  The arrival of some Cursed warships is an ill omen, while the rash actions of Ralph David and the lucky heroics of the Matthias Vospero provided some truly stunning and bizarre moments.  So many questions remain unanswered. Who knows what the future holds?

Well, here is the latest ship and point count.  I have decided to just count deckplate areas, so this includes ships and crew but not army units and things on home islands.

Pirates: 21 ships, 303 points
Jade Rebellion: 23 ships, 393 points
English: 15 ships, 212 points
Spanish: 7 ships, 85 points
French: 17 ships, 231 points
Americans: 14 ships, 233 points
Total: 97 ships, 1,457 points

The Jade Rebels climb into the lead, but most of the other factions are quite impressive as well.

Questions for you, as the reader:
-What is your favorite custom island/terrain piece thus far?  (if you have one)
-Which faction(s) are you rooting for?
-Do you have a preference for regular or video battle reports?  (here is a great example of a video BR, as I would likely have a similar format)

A warning: I will not be able to play nearly this much over the next 4 or so days.  However I'd like to play at least one turn per day and report on the developments as they happen.  I may be able to ramp things up next Wednesday-Friday again like I did this week.

9/16/2017

Turn 31 was played today!  Indeed, the first 4 resource rolls came to exactly 30 turns total.  My Economy Edition game peaked in terms of points on Turn 33, and only lasted 45 turns, meaning that not only is this game progressing at a slower pace points-wise (but a faster pace in terms of turns obviously, with 22 happening in the last 3 days lol), but it also has the potential to be LONG in terms of how many turns occur.  However, now that the game is well into “huge” territory (1,000+ points), turns slow down considerably and take a long time for just a single turn to be completed.

Another resource change was needed!  With odd luck, I rolled three 4's! Metals went from being the least valuable resource to the most valuable!  This greatly benefits the Spanish and Pirates, the only factions to have found metals so far. Textiles remained the best overall resource in the game, going from 6 gold to 5 gold, meaning it has always been in the upper half of resource values through all 5 of the first resource changes.  Food (fish) fell to a new low of 1, meaning the French and Americans would have to suffer through another drought. At this point in the game, the duration becomes more important because turns are taking longer and more events happen on each round of turns.


As planned, the Darkhawk II gives a ghost coin to Mission's flagship, the Crusher.  This means that Mission will be able to make the Crusher ghostly whenever he wants as long as the coin is still aboard.


With the newly launched Fool's Hope patrolling the waters, Pirate hybrids load textiles west of their kingdom.  Much more interesting is the first fort of the game! Dead Man's Point is purchased for 18 gold. That's right, I am multiplying the cost of each fort by SIX in order to have them be more of an investment and make them more fair for gameplay, the same change that exists in the World ruleset.  A fort will deny any other faction from loading resources from that island, as well as provide a superior defensive position. Couple that with the fact that the 2 hits per mast rule also applies to forts, and it would make no sense if forts costed 3-5 gold when they are arguably more valuable than a fully crewed gunship that costs far more.  This way a fort costs as much as most large gunships, but the gold is still moved to the fort and placed inside as usual. (this means that a fort that costs 5 gold in normal games will need to permanently house 30 gold in this game)


Dead Man's Point protects Pirate interests:


Combining their handful of now-valuable metals with some saved-up gold, the Pirates spend 86 gold!  This includes the 18 spent on the fort, but they also launch the Deliverance (with sac captain Havana Black, a helmsman, and oarsmen), Adventure, Paradox, and Nancy Nox.  Capacious ships, even with a base move of S, can be pretty valuable in the long run in games like these. At the bottom of the frame, notice the Smiling Jim and Doombox have moved to a deep point of the kingdom to repair without blocking the entrances for other ships.


A wider shot of the general Jade Rebellion situation.  In the left foreground, 3 ships join the textile gatherers in going to the home island, but they are there for repairs.  Closeups of the action in the next few pictures!


The Grand Temple finally gets a favorable fog roll, and comes out guns blazing!  Her shooting is reasonably effective, taking a mast off the Jikininki and Scythe.


Smash!  The Beowulf rams an icewreck and breaks the iceberg in two!  I love how I'm *actually* breaking icebergs! How cool is that!  LOL. I would definitely suggest that players get some random chunks of foam for use as real icebergs, since they are extremely easy to use (no painting or anything required - just rip some off and literally throw it on your map!) and obviously they look fine and can even be broken when you have icebreakers in play.  So practical and awesome!


The Muninn makes her entrance!  Both shots miss! XD However, check out the stuff happening on her starboard side: the Last Hope has been dismasted, and the Silver Coffin was sunk!  I should have mentioned in the first post that not only do forts and flotillas not follow the no-duplicates rule, they also can be relaunched as many times as a faction wants, unlike regular ships.  Named crew must be unique, but can be rehired for different versions if the first version is eliminated or removed.


Clearly the Jade Rebellion is winning their battle against their strange foes, but it comes with a cost: the Clear Wind and Typhoon are lost, and major repairs will be necessary for the battle fleet to return to full strength.  At the lower left the Polaris has rammed the shipwreck stuck in the iceberg, mostly in a futile attempt to allow the Divine Wind to shoot at the Scythe and/or get to the dismasted Glorious Treasure. What a messy scene!


A seemingly possessed icewreck rams the Grand Temple!  However, notice that the Cursed vessels that came out of nowhere appear to be disappearing just as quickly....


Indeed, the Cursed have gone into a general retreat.  A few ships didn't even get into action, namely the Spilled Salt and Pestilence.  It remains to be seen where these hordes came from, but Tsai (aboard the GT) suggests they came from the "gates" of hell itself!  (the big 6 means the Last Hope has been scuttled)


A sad scene, as HMS Viceroy burns to the waterline.  The Lady Provost rescues Admiral Thomas Gunn and the Burma's captain.




And she goes under.  England's flagship is no more.


The King John shadows the Apollo, making a return trip to the Duke shipwreck but weary of any potential Spanish interference:


HMS Sultan unloads two artillery units at Diamond Rock, which is now even more crowded!  Sloops sail in to grab textiles, while the London and Bretwalda patrol the waters, scanning the horizon for hostile Spaniards.


Saddened but vengeful, Thomas Gunn needs a new flagship.  He considers a wide variety of options, mostly 5 masted juggernauts.  In the end, I couldn't resist choosing the perfect ship for the situation: HMS Lord Algernon!

How's that for the perfect flavor text, eh?

There she is!  What a beauty! HMS Lord Algernon was my most-wanted ship for many years before I acquired her in 2011.  She has been my favorite ship since then. Not for gameplay necessarily, although I love how her armament, speed, and ability are reminiscent of what real ships-of-the-line would be like in this game.  She looks more similar to HMS Victory and other Royal Navy flagships than any ship in the game. Due to somewhat lackluster in-game stats, and my extreme cautiousness in handling my favorites, she has barely ever been used in my games, which is a rarity for me in general since I play so much and love using different ships than what I've used in the past.  However, it is time she gained some experience! Too long has she sat in her box in perfect condition! HMS Lord Algernon will set sail!!


My favorite ship in the game.  Here she is in all her glory as England's new flagship.  I also think this is the perfect situation for her, as I hope to make this game my grandest and most epic personal campaign game EVER.  Only such an epic would call for a ship like this. It is fitting that she appear at such an amazing time in my Pirates CSG experience, with so much more amazing stuff to come in this game of Command the Oceans!


She will be crewed by Thomas Gunn (once he arrives from the Lady Provost), LE Griffin, a firepot specialist, and an oarsman.  In this way, she will be capable of S+S+S speed with rank-1 cannons firing firepots and boasting her defensive ability along with the oarsman for protection against capture and crew elimination.

HERE WE GO!!  The Spanish go from despondent and weak to excited and rich in just a couple turns!  With metals skyrocketing in value from 1 to 6, they spent a windfall in gold to get 78 points' worth of stuff!!


From left to right, the additions are the San Francisco, Alquimista, Diablo flotilla, and La Tartessos.  The San Estaban and Matthias Vospero are busy repairing.


Spending a whopping 30 gold, the Spanish make a huge move and build their best fort, Fortaleza Dorada, on Paradise Island!  This gives them sole control over the island's now-valuable metals, not to mention the immense pile of gold courtesy of the Gold ship!  Looks like paradise to me!

Once again, just insanely perfect flavor text: The Spanish claim it doesn't exist. Yet natives can be persuaded to speak of the "Golden Fortress," the apparent source of the Spanish gold flowing along the Crimson Coast.  O_O Golden Fortress indeed!


And now we are back in Karkuda, where the French flagships continue to cautiously venture further west, and the French have no good resources around.


Similarly, the Americans have stockpiles of the 3 resources that aren't currently valuable: food, spices, and luxuries.  However, with a fortuitous change, the Americans could become extremely wealthy in time. For now they are trying to maximize their returns from the big northern island and destroy reefs in order to go east without danger.  Notice the Freedom heading straight back to the whirlpool. I wonder what Ralph David is thinking? XD Also, Brent Rice is curious to learn from his fellow fleet mates that Luck and Ruby Islands are no longer producing resources.  He is aiming the Bonhomme Richard south to investigate, while Commodore Preble aboard the President sends the Colonial Trader to Ruby Island. Preble is of higher rank, but listens to the wise Rice on making decisions.


With that, another turn ends.  This BR is a great example of just how much can happen on one turn, and the game will only increase in size from here.  The JR battle seems to have ended, while the Caribbean is becoming very interesting. With both the English and Spanish out for revenge (the Spanish are mad the English started the conflict, but the English are p*ssed about the loss of the Viceroy), it could become a war zone very quickly.

A few things I noted:
-With really interesting developments happening in the Sea of Allost and the Caribbean, Karkuda feels quite boring by comparison right now.  This is mostly a coincidence of the resource change, but it's a funny thing I noticed.
-Lumber is nowhere to be found.  Of all six resource types, lumber is the only one to not be discovered on an island yet.

I hope to play a turn a day for the next 3 days, and hopefully more after that.  Much more to come! Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment your thoughts!

9/17/2017

Turn 32 passed without incident, and this will be the shortest report so far.

The Pirates have a logjam, with 5 ships leaving the kingdom from the southern entrance while two ships are delayed in getting in.


Jade Rebellion ships returning home for repairs and to unload textiles.  At this point, in order to save time and not find and re-find coins over and over again for launchings and saving gold, I have begun to record HI gold tallies on an index card.  As of now the Jades have 112 gold saved up in addition to those coins on their home island.


The Battle of Fog and Ice is officially over, with the Jades victorious.  However, the Jades have a lot of repairs to carry out, thus why they're returning to their HI rather than pressing their attack against an unknown enemy of unknown strength.  Notice the icewrecks "fleeing" into the fog, including the newly possessed Clear Wind.


This is the somewhat complicated English crew logistics situation.  The Lady Provost has docked at their HI, and Thomas Gunn has taken the helm of HMS Lord Algernon, the new English flagship whose crew complement is now complete.  The Lady Provost still has the Burma's old captain aboard, and he has now spent far more time as a passenger on the Viceroy and Lady Provost than as captain of his own Burma!  XD The Starbuck is carrying a rope/cable with L length, which cost the same as the ladders. The Burma has used an explore action to take one of the strong cables and temporarily given her helmsman to the Starbuck.


Those crew changes are represented here, but also notice how the English have gotten troops down the ladder from the summit of Diamond Rock to the cave halfway up!


The Aguila docks home 4 metals, netting the Spanish 24 gold which they use to purchase El Galeon de Gibraltar with a captain, helmsman, cannoneer, and exploding shot.  The Matthias Vospero will finish repairing next turn, at which point the Spanish will have 4 healthy warships ready to sail out.


Nothing of note happened in the Sea of Karkuda this turn.  I hope to play two turns tomorrow and one on Tuesday.

9/18/2017

With essentially nothing of note happening in the Sea of Allost, we jump straight to the Caribbean, where the English have spent 49 gold for HMS Galapagos, HMS Serapis, the Gibraltar flotilla, and another artillery unit.  In the background, HMS Algernon has set sail.


Mostly a coincidence, but the Spanish are sailing in line of battle formation.  At the right and head of the line, the San Francisco and Alquimista head for Paradise Island, while the Tartessos, San Estaban, and Galeon de Gibraltar wait for the Matthias Vospero to finish repairing.


The French discover The Flat!!  The French admirals aboard those two flagships are excited to tell the rest of the fleet and get some cargo ships out there.


Ralph David steered the Freedom right back to the whirlpool near the American HI, and went through it to emerge with a lucky 2 from the same whirlpool that allowed RD to attack the Pirates from earlier!  Now the Americans have a direct link from their whirlpool to this one, and will not have to roll for location when traveling between the two. Now the main question is: can Ralph David instill his hatred for Pirates in other American officers?


The Wasp doesn't find any gold on the beach previously explored by the Bonhomme Richard, so her crew bravely ventures east and finds gold on an adjacent beach!


The Colonial Trader reaches Ruby Island, where her crew finds metals, a brand-new resource to the Sea of Karkuda!


Similarly, the Bonhomme Richard finds luxuries on Luck Island!  This resource was previously on Ruby Island and hasn't been a valuable resource for much of the game, but the Americans are happy to have productive islands south of their HI again.


Even more importantly, the Congress finally succeeded in blowing up a reef!!  This first-ever occurrence looks like it will change the dynamic around American waters, as the rest of Karkuda (possibly...) will now be open to American exploration without danger!


I won't be able to play more than a turn tomorrow, but I'm generally hoping for at least 2 turns a day Wednesday-Saturday.

9/19/2017

Somehow, I was able to play two turns today!

Another quick house rule:
-Shipwrights can repair forts while stationed inside

The Pirates cash in newly unloaded metals for a whopping 128 gold, spending 96 of it on 5 new ships.  The Lady's Scorn (SCS version, with lots of shot equipment aboard) and Accused (with firepot specialist and musketeer in addition to captain/helmsman) are tasked with protecting Dead Man's Point from the Americans, a duty that the Fool's Hope and Recreant are already assigned to as well.  However, the more ships the Pirates assign for protection, the more likely it is that they will use some of them in a more offensive capacity.... The Feathered Hat, Sunrise Fire, and Madagascar are part of a squadron that has been tasked with whirlpool exploration. They plan to enter the whirlpool south of Pistol Island, and they may be joined by other ships as well.  As factions get more and more crowded HI areas, they are more likely to send ships farther from home to avoid logjams, which may result in more enterprising expeditions....


Combining the leftover new gold with their old gold, the Pirates also have 69 gold saved up.  They are tentatively planning to purchase a fort upgrade for 100 gold, which would allow them to launch ships and crew from the fort using gold from their home island.  However, even as they save up, I'm not 100% sure I will implement that rule (being able to launch stuff outside of your HI). The Pirates have been having major issues lately with their kingdom, since it's extremely difficult to get in and out with so many ships coming and going.  I think this weakness of the kingdom needs to have more sway than being able to bypass it by spending 100 gold for a fort upgrade. So, I may simply make the upgrades even more expensive, such as 200 or 250 gold lol.


Warlord Cavendish gets his SAT, but is disappointed to not find more textiles on the island!  The Jades manage to uncover some spices instead, but it's a bit of a blow to a faction who has been incredibly fortunate with resource rolls so far.  The Jades only have one wild island they've explored, but textiles have always been worth 4+ gold through all 30+ turns thus far.


Back at the Jade HI, ships are busy repairing and others are coming in to dock for repairs.


The English have done it!  Using one of the strong cables transferred from the Starbuck, the English have hoisted an artillery cannon to the cave halfway up Diamond Rock!  Now all that's left is to attempt hoisting a cannon all the way up to the summit, but that will require a cable with a length of 2L, which the English still need to purchase.  


Thomas Gunn oversees operations from his new flagship, HMS Lord Algernon.  He is happy with the progress and looks forward to getting revenge on the Spanish with his powerful new warship.  That's not all that is going on in this picture, though. At the upper right, notice the Galapagos and Serapis headed north, as they've been tasked with exploring that part of the sea.  However, between intelligence gathered from the London and Victor (both of which have been in the area), the English generally already know that a Spanish presence exists in the northern corner of this Caribbean.  Finally, at the lower right, the Metal Dragon and Bath have been launched. They are given a different task: whirlpool exploration. The English are relatively satisfied with their fleet in the area between the gunships and gold runners, and so they task the two capacious ships with going through the whirlpool near the Duke shipwreck (that the Freedom appeared from) and trying to explore new seas, assuming they survive the trip as Ralph David did.


All of the Spanish ships in play right now.  They don't have more metals coming in just yet, but the Matthias Vospero has finished repairing and the squadron of 4 warships has amassed directly west of Diamond Rock!  (Note: at this point you may have noticed that I have decided that Caribbean directions will be on the corners, with Paradise Island in the north corner and looking at the table on a diagonal as opposed to looking at it like a square as with the other oceans.)


A pretty (if I do say so myself haha) shot of the French area, where the Soleil Royal has signaled for the Jeux to head west.  The Dauphin Royal guards The Flat while some ships in the foreground pick up luxuries.


The Americans break through the opening!  The Congress almost immediately spots a new island, while the Minuteman and Concord excitedly join her.


The rest of the American fleet goes about their usual business of gold and resource running.  William Eaton and the troops on the HI are happy to hear from Brent Rice that Luck Island is producing resources again.


The Pirates didn't have an eventful Turn 35, but I wanted to take these two pictures just to show the extent of their frustration.  Here, 4 ships have left the southern entrance to their kingdom, but their exit is preventing the Golden Medusa and Adventure from coming in yet.  Making things worse, the Otter and Foresight are trying to exit to the south next turn! Speaking of the Otter, the Pirates have realized that galleys are a terrible launching choice for them, since one galley in an entrance essentially blocks the entire path for other ships, whereas they can fit two regular 4 masters side by side.  As a result, the Pirates aren't likely to use many of their galleys in this game, unless they are tasked with far-off war duty or they find a way to launch outside of their HI.


The northern entrance is complicated as well, with the Eagle dropping off very valuable textiles and the Fool's Gold spending an extra turn under the arch to repair the mast she lost to the Freedom.  Those ships prevent the Lady's Scorn and Accused from leaving for at least a turn. Based on the kingdom's extreme value as a defensive haven (especially for a ship or gold you REALLY wanted to hide for a long time), I think this is a necessary drawback of the Pirates (the most effective faction in the game) having it at their disposal.  However, it remains to be seen if the long-term value of the kingdom will be worth it by the game's end.


-Back to the Caribbean-

ATTACK!  The Tartessos sails towards Diamond Rock and hits 4/4 to damage the London and take out her helmsman with Grape Shot!  The San Estaban missed with her firepot specialist, but hit on her other shot to take the London down to 2 masts. Remember no ram damage, but that 6 is actually for the London's boarding party - she rolled a 6 to tie!  Looks weird, but the San Estaban has the Weapons UT which gives her +1 to her boarding rolls for every crew aboard. With a captain, helmsman, and firepot specialist, the SE is basically starting a boarding party with a 6, but she only rolled a 2 here to tie with the London's eventual score of 8.  That 6 saved the London's captain, and she also has fire shot aboard.


The Matthias Vospero is out for more revenge, but isn't nearly as effective the second time around, hitting just 1/4 with two shots apiece aimed at the Bretwalda and London.  The Galeon de Gibraltar is the only Spanish ship not to shoot this turn, but provides nice support. The English are once again caught somewhat by surprise, and their arrogance has left them with a strong-but-not-strong-enough presence right near Diamond Rock.


The Americans venture deeper into the Sea of Karkuda, with the Minuteman finding the 5th and final beach of the big island!  Commodore Preble should probably stay behind to ensure safety of the American HI, but he can't resist taking the President through the opening in the reef to have a look for himself.


And now it's clear that Preble isn't needed to guard the American HI right now anyway!   Spending all 57 of their saved up gold, the Americans launch the Concord and Flying Fish as well as two new cargo ships.  That's right - Ralph David returned home and was able to convince his fellow Americans to spend money on some anti-Pirate measures!  Citing his quick and effective trip through the whirlpool (now the Americans can go straight from Karkuda to Allost without rolling for location, remember), as well as the abundance of textiles and large Pirate hybrids he found on his first trip, RD was able to argue effectively that the Pirates are a huge threat to American security and that they were even richer than the Americans themselves.  With that, David now has 2 more ships to throw at the Pirates. The Americans also launched the Providence and Rattlesnake, for the purposes of exploring and gathering cargo from the newly discovered area northeast of the reef hole. Also note the immense quantity of food on their HI, as the canoes just brought back another 10 tokens of that resource.

After a few turns of stagnancy, the Americans have not only rediscovered resources on their southern islands, but they also have sailed into a new area and are looking great once again.

And that concludes this report!  Things are getting more and more interesting, and with a larger amount of turns happening in the near future (possibly 4+ each of the next three days!), many developments are just around the corner!   

9/20/2017

I will start by saying that I think this is probably one of my biggest and best reports I've written!!  Prepare yourself! XD

I was able to play 5 turns today, Turns 36-40.  At the outset of Turn 36, there were 3 turns remaining until resources would change again, with metals and textiles the most valuable resources.  As a side note, I will admit that I began the day's play not really "feeling" it like I usually do, in terms of how excited I was about the game. However, by the end of the session I was completely the opposite!  Also, I just recently noticed that I have completely forgotten about the return fire house rule, which means I may or may not use it going forward. Oops!

The Pirates gather their whirlpool squadron around the southern whirlpool in the Sea Allost.  The Feathered Hat, Madagascar, and Sunrise Fire prepare to take the plunge! In addition, the Deliverance is standing by, with Havana Black considering joining them for protection and for his own curiosity.


SHAL-BALA ATTACKS!!  In a sudden, unexpected flyover, the giant sea dragon from hell swoops in on the Jade Rebellion's own home island!  Troops and equipment were scattered in all directions. And just like that, the dragon flew up and away. Clearly this is no ordinary sea dragon, as I've taken the liberty of giving it some special rules for this particular game.  Here I physically had the dragon swoop over the island itself and simply smash whatever happened to get hit in the swift but deadly attack. However, to be more fair, I ruled that anything on land had survived, so the JR's only lost one infantry unit and one artillery unit in the sneak attack.  (combined that would cost them 4 gold, so trivial as to be completely irrelevant in a game like this)

However, the attack was important, as it demonstrated Shal-Bala's power and range.  This taught the Jades something: in order to combat the dragon, they would have to go to its hiding place and kill it themselves.  Even with lots of ships docked at home and plenty of infantry with muskets stationed there, they were no match for the dragon, whose attack was too fast for any damage to be done in return.  The Jades had already been planning to go northwest with a stronger squadron than before, but now they doubled their efforts.

Back in the Caribbean, the English strike back!  The Bretwalda matches the Tartessos' effort from the previous turn, going 4/4!  Her second hit set the Matthias Vospero aflame. The London was unable to knock a full mast off the San Estaban, but notice HMS Lord Algernon sailing up at the lower right....


Here HMS Victor arrives from around the northern side of Diamond Rock to blast a mast off the Tartessos!


The extremely effective Spanish counterattack!  From left to right, the Victor, London, and Bretwalda have all lost masts.  However, the Bretwalda was by far the hardest hit - she had been damaged earlier, so three well-placed shots from the Matthias and San Estaban combined to give her two fire masts!


Off on a treasure run with the Alquimista, the gunners inside the Diablo flotilla tested their range using my new S+S cardboard range ruler, and found their mark!  They only did a bit of damage to HMS Serapis, but it showed off the range of flotillas, which I anticipate being a reasonably big factor in this game.


The Rafael and Magdalena are nearly home with valuable metals, while other ships have begun the return journey as well.  Notice that Diablo had to shoot before the Alquimista moved away from the English gunship - this is another great thing about flotillas, as the flexibility of having their own shoot actions allows a reverse captain type thing with gold runners.


Tasked with exploring east of the Harbor, Nemo surfaces the Nautilus to discover a new island just outside the Harbor walls!


The Jeux is the first ship to dock at The Flat, and will explore next turn!  Who knows what she'll find? In the meantime, other French ships make their way to the large island while Monsieur Lenoir watches from the Dauphin Royal:


Setting out!  The Concord and Flying Fish will soon be followed by the Freedom through the whirlpool, with the express purpose of putting some hurt on the Pirates.  Do you think Brent Rice aboard the Bonhomme Richard will join them?


The Americans finally discover that they can reach the rest of Karkuda by sailing all the way around the big island to the north!  However, this would take far longer than their new route east, so they don't have any regrets about blowing up that reef. (this confirms that the island in question has 5 beaches, although that would have been obvious if you have read my previous BR's using that island)


The Congress, Concord, and Delaware are well-armed and ready to mark new territory for America:


The first cargo ships for the Americans venture east!


And more are on the way!  The Yankee and Pawtucket are launched, with the same purpose of getting resources and gold from the area east of the reefs.


Turn 36!  The Pirates brave the whirlpool for the first time!  The flagship of the squadron is immediately spun back out after rolling a 1 to emerge from the same exact whirlpool!  XD


The Sunrise Fire and Madagascar roll 2's to emerge from the other whirlpool in the Sea of Allost, where the Freedom came out!  This not what the Pirates wanted, or expected. They are trying to discover new lands and/or discover where the hostile Ralph David came from.


Back in Caribbean waters, the English roll poorly to not even damage the San Estaban!  However the Bretwalda got lucky that neither of her fire masts spread. Her captain considered running for home, but between the low probability of making it in time to put out the flames, and seeing his fellow Englishmen in danger (HMS London nearly derelict at the right), he decided to forge ahead and press the attack!  Indeed, both sides showed bravery and honor in this fight.


She's not rolling 1's!  Thomas Gunn announces his huge entrance into the battle with HMS Lord Algernon's first shots of the game!!  The super-accurate gunnery crews obliterate the final two masts aboard the Matthias Vospero, who is now doomed due to her fire mast and zero percent chance of being towed home in time.


The Galapagos only manages two hits on the Galeon de Gibraltar (Galeon for short), but one of them is an all-important Stinkpot Shot!  One of the most underrated things in the history of this game, this equipment shuts down ALL crew aboard the enemy ship during their next turn if the shot it's assigned to is successful.  From here I can confirm that shots that don't eliminate masts do not need to hit on the mast elimination hit (the second hit needed to take out the mast for example, following the 2 hits per mast house rule) in order to take effect.  For example, a successful grape shot would eliminate a crew on the enemy ship regardless of how many hits the enemy ship had taken in terms of mast elimination. This applies to stinkpot shot as well of course, and this shut down the Galeon's impressive cohort of crew for her next turn (captain, helmsman, cannoneer).  Since the Galeon's cannons were not quite in range of the Lord Algernon at this point, this saved Gunn's flagship from taking damage on the Spanish turn.

At the left, the Victor has scored a hit on the Tartessos while the Serapis enters the fray as well.

I think the San Estaban had her mizzenmast eliminated by HMS London.  At this point you are invited to view a video of the situation if you'd like.  That was released as a youtube exclusive almost 12 hours before this report was posted, and before the rest of the day's turns were even played!


This shows the Spanish turn in the battle area, with the fire aboard La Tartessos spreading.  However, the Spanish inflicted some fiery hits of their own - the San Estaban has connected with her firepot specialist against HMS London, dooming the ship in a devastating blow to English morale!  In addition, although the Galeon's captain was immobilized by stinkpot shot, she managed to connect on 3 of 4 shots against the Galapagos, getting some measure of revenge by setting the ship aflame with exploding shot.  I will remark that it was a big-time shot - the exploding shot not only took out the first mast on the Galapagos (reducing her speed due to her ship's ability of getting +L with all masts up), but it also killed her helmsman.  This meant that the one die roll was responsible for a huge loss of speed aboard the Galapagos - the ship went from a max speed of S+L+S to just S in one turn!


The Matthias Vospero burns and sinks, but both sides are already suffering heavy damage.  At the far right, the Metal Dragon has arrived and awaits orders from Admiral Gunn as to her role.


The Spanish take in 42 gold and launch two new gunships!  The Catedral del Mar and El Extremadura give the Spanish a half dozen rank-2 cannons to throw at the English.  As is becoming somewhat standard, they are also equipped with some variety of fiery equipment or crew. (I wanted to emphasize all sorts of "extra weaponry" in this game, from the different shot equipment to specialists, musketeers, and cannoneers - so far, not only have I been remembering them, but they've played large roles in the battles too!)

Also notice that the Spanish have unloaded Power Cannons at their HI - I have house-ruled that face up UT's can be unloaded to home islands as if they were equipment or crew.

The French find textiles on The Flat!  This gives them a third resource near their Harbor, with food and luxuries available as well.


And there it is!  My uglier but playable version of the Phare de l'ile de Batz!  This is not my idea at all, but rather one from vixenishcoder66 on Miniature Trading.  Here is the revised post with other lighthouses, some of which I may also use in this game.  Ironically, that post was made around the same time that I was seriously considering starting this game, though I didn't know how grand it would be or what I could fit into it. At this point, I'm going all-in on everything I can possibly do lol.  This is more proof of that.


The smallest island I have from RossinAZ is perfect for a lighthouse - the size of the cylinder I used fits great on the slightly raised grassy part of the island!  I found a thick cardboard cylinder at my job, and decided it could be turned into a handful of makeshift lighthouses. I cut it into different pieces with various heights, and added a little paint to them to make them less plain (though this was a trying experience because I hate paint and hardly care about what it looks like lol).  Actually, before I painted them (most of them anyway, as a few aren't painted) I poked some holes where the "light" would come from, in addition to windows and various openings. Clearly the lighthouse is not designed to look like a real-life one - I made the lighthouses randomly and blue is my color of choice for France, and thus they have this one for the lighthouse I chose from the French ones vixenishcoder66 designed.  And of course, as I said in the first post of this thread, the aesthetics of the pieces are a joke compared to the actual gameplay, so spending a lot of time on the lighthouses is the opposite of my thesis as a hardcore player. I'm just glad I got lucky and found something I could use to make use of someone else's custom idea!


As the Vengeance takes off for The Flat (textiles are currently worth 5 gold apiece), you can see I've used one of the L-range straws (which I didn't make either - I received those randomly in a trade or eBay lot a while back) to temporarily represent the lighthouse's effect range.  I don't plan to cut out clear plastic for the base in this game, especially since they will often be elevated as I'm not planning to use ANY standard islands this whole game! However, now the "light" is coming from the top, which makes sense and works for now.


Believe it or not, this wasn't just to show off the lighthouse - there was genuine French strategy behind this decision!  lol. The French have placed it near their Harbor but on the island that leads to the west, where around 2/3 of the Sea of Karkuda lies.  It can give French cargo ships a little boost on their trips out and back into the Harbor, in addition to providing a thematic "light" near the Harbor mouth.  The food islands to the east don't have as much stuff near them, so this island was absolutely perfect for the first (hopefully not last, but they will not just be built for the heck of it haha) lighthouse of the game!


With the Freedom fully repaired and two additional gunships at his disposal, Ralph David is ready to return to his Pirate-hunting antics!


The Providence docks at the new island just beyond the reef opening!  Another exploration will happen next turn! You can see more American cargo ships coming up from the southwest, while the canoe team continues to gather food in the northwest corner.


Oh my!!  Just east of the island the Providence docked at, the Concord and Delaware discover The Flat!  The French are just beyond on the other side, so a meeting between the two factions in the Sea of Karkuda finally seems imminent!

(and yes, that does mean that there is not another faction secretly lurking in Karkuda lol...)

This shows the island in greater detail, although I already talked about it in my Economy Edition reports.  It's still one of my favorite islands I've made; even though the foam layers are still visible, it reminds me of the White Cliffs of Dover and features some nice heavy shrubbery and rocks on various parts of it.  This picture also shows the wide exploratory efforts by the Americans, with the President, Congress, and Minuteman all checking things out and nearing The Flat.


With the Feathered Hat awaiting her fleetmates, she is rewarded when the Sunrise Fire and Madagascar emerge from the whirlpool.  Thus was their plan - if they didn't all end up at the same whirlpool, go back to the original and compare notes. The Pirates can now travel through the two whirlpools in the Sea of Allost, but must roll for location to get to any other whirlpools.  Slow progress, but progress indeed. The poor crew of the Otter have been told to do whatever they want by the Pirates back at the kingdom - galleys are a huge headache for the narrow arch entryways, so the Otter has been dismissed from the active cargo fleet.  Her depressed crew perk up when told about the whirlpool expedition by the captain of the Feathered Hat, who is puzzled but determined after the latest event when his ship was simply tossed around the same whirlpool he entered.


The Jade Rebels sail out in force!  Realizing that further reinforcing their HI with additional infantry is pointless against such a powerful foe, they send plenty of ships to seek out Shal-Bala.


Leading the pack is mostly hired Viking ships, but also a familiar sight: the Divine Wind.  Her captain is now more ready than ever to face what lies at the "Gates of Hell".


Further strengthening the general Jade position, the Grand Temple moves just west of their sole resource island and readies the guns.  The similarly repaired Sea Phoenix and Glorious Treasure join her.


Back to the Caribbean!  (obviously I enjoy saying that for some reason haha)

Devastation is unleashed as the Lord Algernon looses a full broadside!  Combined with shots from the Galapagos, the Galeon de Gibraltar is reduced to a burning hulk in just one turn!


War at sea!  Splintered masts fall everywhere, while smoke from the flames obscures the deck of the Galeon from view of sharpshooters in the main top of HMS Lord Algernon:


War indeed, for the English have declared war on the Spanish!!  This happened shortly after the battle commenced, but clearly it seemed like an inevitability at this point.  After the London sank due to fire, HMS Burma finally entered combat by dismasting the San Estaban. The captain of the Burma was happy to finally command her in battle, after spending many turns aboard other ships and waiting for operations at Diamond Rock to be completed (which they haven't been of course, but more on that later!).  The Victor has captured the San Estaban for what I believe is the first capture of the game! However, sadly the London is no more. She met the same fate as the Viceroy, with fire dooming both ships.


The Serapis shoots at the Tartessos, who may soon meet a similar fate:


Spending some gold, the English launch 3 ships.  You can see their newest purpose-built warships here, as the very accurate Duke of York and Guy Fawkes are launched.  They are ready to fight Spain. HMS Duke of York in particular is a bruiser I've wanted to use for a while.


But yes, they launched 3 ships.  Here is the other one: HMS Malton.  She is a beauty, on par with many French ships for aesthetics, at least in my opinion.  However, her purpose in this game is more practical. With the Burma off fighting in combat, the Malton has been tasked with continuing the operations around Diamond Rock's fortifications.  She carries a new 2L length of cable, along with the artillery unit you see here and a captain and helmsman. Those crew give her the opportunity to fight Spain sooner rather than later in the case of disaster out west, but in the meantime her current job may also be fraught with perils, although of a different nature.


Amid the deafening roar of his own cannons, Admiral Gunn signals for the Metal Dragon to resume her mission with the Bath to explore whirlpools.  Gunn sees that English victory is near, and knows the King John (off the starboard bow of the Bretwalda) can do an admirable job standing in for the Metal Dragon.


With more metals coming in, the Spanish continue to launch, as they should in such circumstances.  The Anunciada and Santa Catalina come into play, along with the first duplicate flotilla of the game - another Armada is right behind the Anunciada!


Oh no!  My worst fears had been confirmed: another great warship lost to fire!  La Tartessos burns to the waterline, marking yet another casualty to fire shot and firepots.  I wanted to emphasize them in this game, but they may be becoming too powerful. Despite following the two hits per mast rule and not ignoring it, they are still extremely valuable for their point costs.  With the house rules, I really didn't expect this many ships to be sinking this early in the combat parts of this game. I haven't decided upon anything yet, but I may rule that fire needs a 1 to spread and a 6 to be put out, instead of a 1-2 and 5-6.  I will admit that I am partly annoyed simply because of which ships have been doomed by fire - the first English flagship (HMS Viceroy), and now some of the powerful gunships I was really looking forward to using a bunch (HMS London, HMS Bretwalda, the Tartessos, etc).


Nemo keeps the Nautilus above water and excitedly tells the French about the island east of the Harbor.  They seem relatively unconcerned by the considerable development and tell Nemo to inform Admiral Gaston personally.


French ships collect luxuries and textiles near the new lighthouse:


The Dauphin Royal sights the Concord, marking the first Franco-American contact of the game!  This also puts an end to the French streak of not discovering any other factions, as they are the final fleet to find another source of humanity in the game.  (though what the Jades have found is not particularly human... XD)


Now you can get an idea of the Sea of Karkuda's layout, with only a handful of wild islands between the American area and the French Harbor.


American canoes in their preferred V formation, heading home with yet more fish/food.


A meeting of the minds!  Commodore Preble meets with Monsieur Lenoir.  The crews of the Congress and Concord try to listen in for information, but the sound of the waves drowns out the important conversation.


The Rattlesnake and Argo simultaneously dock at the eastern beach of the big island!


HUZZAH!!  Lumber has been found!   This made be very happy, as it's one of my favorite resources for thematic purposes (essential for ships obviously!) and it took nearly 40 turns to finally discover the last resource.

I don't think I've ever been happier to roll a 1!  lol!

Ralph David returns to Allost!  The Freedom, Concord, and Flying Fish emerge from the whirlpool in the north.


Turn 39 marked the need for another resource change!  Yet another 3 was rolled for value, meaning that textiles were worth 6 once again and crashing the metals market!  This was a disaster for the Spanish, but the values would only hold for 5 turns, the shortest duration of the game thus far.


The Pirate whirlpool squadron was ready to try again!  With the Madagascar and Sunrise Fire rolling 5's, they appeared at the southwestern whirlpool in the Sea of Karkuda!  Right next to the Americans who don't like them! XD


With terrible luck, the Otter rolls a 4 and ends up at the northern whirlpool in Karkuda!  She is exposed to the powerful Congress and President, and she better hope the Americans don't spot her!  XD


LOL!!  For the second time in a row, the Feathered Hat gets spun out of the same whirlpool she entered!  XD


With a rare overhead view from the east, the Deliverance showed up next to the Otter to protect her.  Now the Pirates have clear routes to 3 of the other 4 whirlpools that currently exist, with the Caribbean whirlpool the only one they haven't traveled to from their own near the kingdom.


Determined and willing to risk everything, the Jades charge onwards.  The Sea Lion has not mounted the icewreck, I just had to make room in the fog bank for both.  Despite the supernatural inclinations the icewrecks seem to have, even they cannot locate other ships in the same fog bank.


With a bunch of Jade ships in the fog, the slow 6 masters sail up from the south:


Ouch!  The icewrecks come out of nowhere and ram masts off the Grand Mountain and Muninn!


Just as suddenly, a ghostly shadow pops out of a fog bank next to the Jade resource island, and then travels through the Glorious Treasure to shoot directly at Jade cargo ships!!  The Crushed Skull has turned ghostly, and takes a mast off the Sea Duck!


Suddenly it's a Cursed swarm attack!  The Jikininki, Spilled Salt, and Banshee's Wail sail out of the west and descend upon the Grand Temple!  However, they only eliminate one mast combined.


An ominous sight: Sammy the Skull shows up in the Monkey's Paw!  This ship was damaged in the Battle of Fog and Ice, but has been repaired somewhere and is ready for action again!


The Pestilence appears!  Her blade strikes a mast off the Grand Temple, and you can see other scorpion ships aren't far behind!

Well what was that all about?!  XD

-Back to the Caribbean-

With a very unlucky three consecutive 1's, the Bretwalda loses her last two masts and the Galapagos loses a mast!  This is another blow to English morale, as they will not be able to get the Bretwalda home in time before she burns.


The Bretwalda is doomed.   Gunn tells the Victor to drop the captured San Estaban so she can go home and repair.  The Lord Algernon takes up towing duty for now, as the Serapis goes home for repairs as well.  The Burma guards the area. Despite considerable losses, the English have won the First Battle of Diamond Rock!


New and old English ships sail out, with different tasks to be completed.


With the Spanish threat at least temporarily contained, the Metal Dragon returns to escort the Bath through the Caribbean whirlpool!  Funny enough they both roll 3's to simply get spun around and dizzy! XD


Unfortunately for the English they both lost masts in the effort.


With the loss of all four gunships in the battle (3 burnt and 1 captured), this shows the entire Spanish fleet.  They have formed a defensive wall with gunships and the new flotilla to protect their cargo ships. With metals plummeting to 1 in value, the Spanish may not be able to launch for the next bunch of turns.

Armada was already in play, but the second part of the flavor text is fitting: Spain was the last of the nations to create a flotilla, but now uses them aggressively to protect its precious ports in the New World.

Spain's impressive line of battle, although it wouldn't hold up if England threw their full might against it.


A wide shot of pretty much the entire Caribbean, with the Duke shipwreck in the deep south and Paradise Island in the north corner.


Back in Karkuda, the French experience a large influx of ships entering the Harbor area, with the new lighthouse providing some assistance.


Another meeting of the minds near The Flat!  Although, this one is less cordial. Lenoir shouts a greeting to Havana Black, who seems hurried and tells the French that he made a mistake and will be escorting the Otter back through the whirlpool.  Commodore Preble watches the maneuvers, unimpressed. He and the Congress stay where they are and avoid contact with the Pirates, as they don't want blood on their hands and will wait for Ralph David's report to determine how to proceed with such criminals.

It is worth noting that the French were previously "alone", and now find themselves in the company of two other factions in just a few turns, surprising them and alerting them to the fact that they may not be as dominant in these waters as they thought!

A friend of Ralph David, Brent Rice saw the suspicious Pirates emerge from the whirlpool south of the American HI, and orders the Bonhomme Richard to attack!  However, the gunners have a miserable day, hitting just once in 5 tries to damage the already-hurting Madagascar. The Colonial Trader loads metals, her crew smelling the smoke of battle for the first time.


The Rattlesnake explores the final beach of the big island up north, finding textiles!  She and the Argo load some and prepare to go home. This gives the Americans 5 of the 6 resources relatively close to their HI, which is fantastic for their long-term wealth.  Throw in the spices they have saved up from when Luck Island produced that resource, and they are the most diversified faction in the game.

I ran out of textile tokens from M&M so I used the Hammocks one instead.  The extra sails token would be next, and I can always just use a face up coin to denote which resource the island or beach produces as I did for Economy Edition.

The Providence and Yankee head back with lumber (now worth 5 gold after the change) while the Pawtucket and Louisiana look to do the same:


The Americans investigate The Flat, impressed by its position and sizing it up as a potential spot for their future operations....  The French will no doubt be sending more ships there soon, as textiles recently became the most valuable resource in the game for the third time in six resource rolls.


With some considerable damage done by the travels, the Pirate whirlpool squadron meets up back in Pirate waters.  They are disoriented and disgrunteld, annoyed at how random the results seemed to be. However, they can now travel without rolling for location from this whirlpool to all others except the one in the Caribbean, which they don't know exists (and therefore they have no idea of the English and Spanish presence in the game lol).


Ralph David was ready for action, and that was exactly what he would get!  This time though, the Pirates were more than ready for him. With a squadron of four Pirate gunships tasked specifically with defending Dead Man's Point, David's squadron quickly came under attack.  The Recreant, Accused, Fool's Hope and Lady's Scorn have hit the Americans pretty hard, with the Concord suffering an ominous fire on board. Mission hears the gunfire and gives the Crusher an extra action, trusting the gunships to dispatch the Americans quickly but ready to deal the final blows if necessary....  In fact, this is as close to combat as Mission has gotten in this game, but it's nice to see that it doesn't look like he'll be an "armchair admiral" for the Pirates.


You may have noticed that the Pirates didn't seem to launch much if anything this session, and you'd be right.  This is not just because I'm a little fed up with how difficult the logistics of the kingdom are (bumping it, measuring distance out, logjams, etc).  The Pirates have been taking in considerable riches, but they are saving it for now.

Elsewhere in Allost, the Rebels strike back!  Turtle ships and the Sea Phoenix team up to take two masts off the Crushed Skull, who is still ghostly and therefore immune to the great ability of the Glorious Treasure (eliminate a mast and crew after being pinned).  The Jades are a little shocked and dazed that the Cursed suddenly hit one of their resource ships, but those ships return home and continue to pile up spices.


The Grand Temple uses a reroll from Katsura-chan to get Tsai's SAT, shooting 6/8 to take three masts off the Pestilence and Spilled Salt combined!


The Beowulf rams an icewreck, actually breaking the ice:


A revelation!  Some of the dense fog lifts, but only after the Jade ships inside roll to come out of it.  The 6 masters reach a fog bank that stays in play.


The Polaris rams a big icewreck coming out of the fog, while the Divine Wind approaches something she's seen before!!


Is it?  Could it be??  Amid some unfamiliar sails, the Divine Wind comes upon the area she discovered many turns ago!


From the main mast of a hired Viking vessel, it's obvious: the "Gates of Hell" are upon them!!


Completely optional, but at this point you may want to get some thematic music up to further experience what the JR's experienced here!  (NO connection to the movie or character! Just thought the song fit this part) (and maybe read this part slightly slower to get the effect .... ... )

With no dragon in sight and less fog and gloom blocking their view, the Jade Rebels and Vikings look up around the "gates" for the first time... and DREAD fills them up.....  



....



As more fog lifts, a view from the Beowulf, who isn't even that close to the "gate"....


REEE!!

With a shriek, Shal-Bala descends from above!!  The dragon swoops again, taking out a mast on the Divine Wind and Polaris.


And then Shal-Bala again flies up, but with most of the fog around this massive structure disappearing, we see where the dragon goes!!  Up, and up, and up! O_O


Introducing: The Cursed Dragon Roost!


One of the biggest structures ever used in a Pirates CSG game!!


These aren't the "gates of hell"! This is THE ROOOOOOOSSSSSSSTTTTTTT!!!!!!! XD   Another head-on view (almost from sea level!) for maximum shock value:


The Cursed have been here all along!

Starting the game with the Roost as their home island, and with 30 points to build a fleet, the Cursed have been one of the original 7 factions since the beginning of the game!  Only now, as the Jades discover the full scale of their operations, is their epic "grand reveal" appropriate!


Cursed cargo ships load luxuries from what I've been calling Broken Horn Island, just as they've done for nearly 40 turns now!  The Dark Pact is a recent launch, but the Grinder and Death Wind have been in play for a while now.


East of the Roost, the Cursed have a gold island that has already replenished a few times!  The 100 gold coin and other valuable goodies found there are the biggest reason for their current strength.  The Nightmare, Guinee, Sea Monkey, Crypt, and Maman Brigitte are collecting gold from the island, while the Soul Crusher stands guard.  The Soul Crusher costed the Cursed 33 points, as she carries Wraith (who has already possessed a few dead crew!) along with a captain, helmsman, and musketeer.


Cursed game summary
The Cursed found gold and luxuries on the southwestern island, but the gold has run dry.  They also found tons of gold and UT’s but also Wolves up north with Crypt. The Soul Crusher with her musketeer was launched to eliminate the Wolves, after which the gold could be taken aboard other ships.  They got a 60 coin (a 6 with a gold-painted back, as I explained earlier) and a 100 coin (no number, just gold on both sides), and then proceeded to launch 201 points of stuff in 2 separate turns. Shal-Bala savaged the Sea Serpent and ate the crew.  They had the biggest fleet (231 points) at first point count, although this was completely unknown since I didn't report it lol. They had 303 points at the second point count, which would mean that the game had actually reached 1,760 total points at that count!  And then they recently found another 100 coin after the Battle of Fog and Ice ended.


And here you see why I've called it the Roost - Shal-Bala is nesting on top!  The giant piece of foam I used had some natural recessed areas, which is perfect for an evil Cursed Sea Dragon nest.  Shal-Bala has finished up eating the remains of the Jade musketeer that was taken from the Divine Wind such a long time ago.  This "food" helped Shal-Bala regrow its tail, and yes, that means that Sea Dragons can repair on top of the Roost!! O_O


Shal-Bala has transported a skeletal, pale figure to the top of the Roost... Devereaux!  


At this point it is necessary to explain his "experiments" via his flavor text, first with his Revolution version:
Originally a French privateer, Devereaux has lost his sanity to his obsession with finding the Dragon's Eye, a gem that legend says grants the owner immortality.
Of course, that's the DJC Cursed version of Devereaux on the Roost: that is who the Cursed started the game with.  (their original fleet was the Boneyard with Devereaux and a helmsman, along with the Crypt. However, Devereaux has long since left his ship to tend to his work at the Roost....)
Flavor text from DJC version:
Devereaux found his great obsession, the Eye of the Dragon. It's power was everything he hoped it was - and more: Its power condemned him to a living death under its control.

And he has indeed found "his great obsession", but that is not where this story ends.  O_O

You may have also noticed some face up UT's on the Roost.  In addition to being able to store face up UT's at their HI, the Cursed have a special power that lets them store face down UT's until they are ready to be loaded aboard ships.

Would you believe that all that actually just happened at the conclusion of the Jade Rebellion turn?  That's right, the Roost was revealed as the fog lifted, meaning that the Jades were still taking their turn as they discovered the Roost, and can still spend gold!

Anxiously ready for reinforcements to face whatever bizarre foes emerged from the northwest, the Jades spent well over 100 gold for another anti-Cursed squadron!  From left to right, the Grand Path, Grendel, Hrunting, Naegling, and Huginn! The Grand Path is finally unleashed! This is the 5th and final Jade 6 master to be launched in the game.


The Cursed are next!  They officially go third in the turn order, behind the Jades and just before the English go in the Caribbean.

A FULL-SCALE CURSED ATTACK!!!!  TOTAL CHAOS!


The Crushed Skull turned ghostly to zoom through the turtle ships and for the first time in this game, utilized the house rule where you can shoot at ships docked at their home islands!  Alas, her one shot missed the newly launched Grand Path. The Cursed recently launched a fog-hopping squadron! The Sea Hag and Mist Walker started in a fog bank near the Roost, and popped out of the one next to the Jade resource island!  They combined to knock a mast off the Grand Wind, flagship of Warlord Cavendish, who was stunned by the development! At the left, the Monkey's Paw only shoots 2/5 but knocks both panels off the Floating Stone. You may have noticed the Grand Temple is in trouble...


... and she is!  The Spilled Salt and Pestilence eliminated a mast apiece, and the GT is really in dire straits because she can't escape (even with her reverse captain ability, which would normally come in quite handy with so much fog to run into) since the scorpion keyword keeps her pinned!


A big bite from Mist Walker nearly decapitates Warlord Cavendish!  XD


Bam!  The Scythe wrecks a mast and pins the Beowulf, who comes under attack on both sides by fog hoppers.  The Needle and Hangman's Joke have arrived!


Something the Cursed had been planning nearly all game: Behemoth copies the fog hopper ability and comes out to ram the Polaris and pin her in place!


Near the gateway of the Roost, icewrecks combine with the newly launched Sickle and Hellfire to make short work of the Divine Wind and Asgard!


From the main masts of the Grand Path, you can see the Muninn running home for repairs caused by ice damage, while one of the icewrecks that rammed her is a new big one.  If the Jades lose their icebreakers, they may have no defense against the icewrecks! At this point, it is probably obvious to you that the icewrecks have been controlled by the Cursed the entire time.  They follow the rules for icebergs (mostly), except that the Cursed can move them S in any direction on the Cursed turns. The icewrecks are formed from wrecked Pirate ships destroyed long ago and possessed by the Cursed to form a barrier between the Roost and any invading factions....


The entire Cursed/Jade situation.  The Roost and the new battle take up a huge amount of space.  In fact, seeing the extent of the Cursed threat, the Jade Rebellion has declared war on the Cursed!




Whew!  Here we are back in the Caribbean, with a wide shot of the English.  The Duke of York and Guy Fawkes make their way to the battlefield (though it's now over), while the Bath and Metal Dragon join the Victor and Serapis as ships headed home for repairs, since the whirlpool expedition was an utter failure.  HMS Apollo docks at home to load a captain, she happens to have Claw Cannon aboard as well, which she discovered back at the Duke shipwreck....


The Galapagos rolls good and bad, eliminating one fire mast but gaining one as well.  This leaves her with just one mast, and at S speed, it's unlikely she'll reach home before it's too late.  The King John has arrived to reinforce the Diamond Rock squadron, but with the Lord Algernon possibly towing the San Estaban home, the English guard is about as weak as it's been in a while.


However, the Spanish are still reeling from the First Battle of Diamond Rock, and here you can see they've taken up a defensive position.  This is a rare shot looking from the northwest, showing their whole fleet.


By coincidence/bad timing, the French have a bit of a logjam at their Harbor, as the Nautilus goes west past the cargo ships and the lighthouse:


An alliance is struck!  Commodore Preble meets with Admiral Gaston of the Soleil Royal, and the French and Americans make the first alliance of the game!


The Delaware and Minuteman guard some islands, while at the upper left the Argo looks to take a shortcut over a reef using her ability.


The American offensive in the northern part of Allost is somewhat disappointing, resulting in 5 total hits on Pirate gunships but also another fire mast on the Concord:


And that is it!  The first 40 turns of the game have been completed!  Three turns remain in the current resource duration.

Clearly the game has gone through a lot of interesting developments!
In this report alone:
Shal-Bala strikes the Jade Rebellion HI directly
English win the First Battle of Diamond Rock
French discover new island east of Harbor
Lumber is finally found!
Various whirlpool shenanigans occurred, no doubt with more to come much to my amusement (lol)
Jade Rebels reach the Roost, revealing the extent and history of the Cursed operation

English declare war on the Spanish
Jade Rebellion declare war on the Cursed

French and Americans start alliance together

Thank you so much for reading and commenting!  I know that these reports take a while to get through, especially since they take me so long to write up haha.  I appreciate the feedback and would love continual thoughts on the game. It’s been an amazing adventure so far but there is SO much more to come it boggles the mind!  XD

9/21/2017

[quote="xerecs"]Mysterious mysteries, looking forward to the next report. Are you by chance going to have it up later today?[/quote]

It is here!  

[quote="pirateaj14"]Keep it coming man, keep it coming! I am loving this. Words cannot describe the immense enjoyment I get  reading these reports. Great job so far The First Battle of Diamond Rock represents the power of the English navy in the Age of Sail. Even though they have lost some good ships, they are my favorite right now.[/quote]

Thank you!  I love seeing such an awesome comment, and I'm very happy that people are greatly enjoying it.  It's been a special game so far, and I hope it becomes my greatest ever with time.

I played 3 long turns today, but that will probably be the most I can play in a day for quite some time now... probably!

Turn 41 begins with the Pirates firing at the Americans.  Ralph David's squadron is decimated by cannonballs and fire shot, with the Concord doomed to the flames and the Freedom and Flying Fish down to one mast each.


Elsewhere in the Sea of Allost, the Jade Rebels engage in all-out war with the Cursed!  The Crushed Skull is crushed, and suffers three hits while dismasted as well (3 more hits to sink due to the house rule).  Jade cargo ships that have been equipped with captains for a while now (the East Wind and Virtuous Wind) shoot 3 segments off Mist Walker, who is quickly in trouble.


Just as she was in the Battle of Fog and Ice, the Monkey's Paw is tag-teamed by a swarm of small Jade ships, but this is effective as it was before!  The Monkey's Paw loses 3 masts in short order, and will likely have to retreat again in order to stay afloat or avoid capture. In the interests of keeping things mostly consistent and not having OP abilities, I have decided that abilities that eliminate masts (such as the Scorpion keyword, or in this case the ability of the Glorious Treasure, which allows you to eliminate a mast and crew from the enemy ship after being pinned) function the same as a regular cannon hit.  This means that those abilities do not automatically eliminate masts, as I had been playing it up until today. Especially with the automatic pinning, scorpions have nearly gone from overpriced to overpowered, so I'm trying to keep things fair.


Speaking of scorpions, the Scythe is in trouble!  The Grand Mountain emerges from a fog bank to connect with both fire shot and a stinkpot specialist! (the latter represented by the smoke that originated from a bombardier card)


The Asgard and Hrothgar team up to put some serious hurt on the Hellfire right under the Roost!


Just to the southwest, the Grand Dynasty is struggling against the Sickle: her fire shot backfired, setting the ship alight.  Making matters worse, she couldn't even eliminate a mast from the Sickle with her other cannons! The Jades are unable to scuttle the derelict Divine Wind.


Time for the Cursed turn!  The Monkey's Paw does as expected and flees into a nearby fog bank, but not before she instills some Fear into the nearby Jade ships!  Rolling for the keyword a whopping 6 times, the MP is successful twice, shutting down abilities on the Sea Phoenix and slightly slowing the Dragon's Talon.  However, much worse for the Jades is the considerable empty spot at the top of the frame....


The Grand Temple is captured!  With the Pestilence and Spilled Salt gaining the upper hand in the sudden Cursed attack on Turn 40, the GT was not quite strong enough to resist those Cursed attackers in addition to the Jikininki and Banshee's Wail.  Here the Wail has begun towing the giant Jade flagship, arguably their best ship in play so far and a symbol of JR pride. In addition, now that she's a member of the Cursed fleet, it will be very difficult for the Jades to reverse this event, needing to capture the Wail or somehow hit the GT 12 times before the Cursed dock the GT back at the Roost.

However, satisfied with their work in the area and seeing too many healthy Jade ships just east of the spicy island, the Cursed turn some ships around.  The Spilled Salt, Pestilence, and Monkey's Paw are all heavily damaged, while the Banshee's Wail and Jikininki don't have the crew or firepower to do much damage on the way out.  In addition, at the top of the frame notice that most of the Cursed fog hoppers have already retreated regardless of casualties - the Cursed consider their fog hopping squadron a major long-term asset, so they will not risk its destruction this early in the combat phase of the game.

The Crushed Skull tries to escape!  Turning ghostly and using her helmsman and oarsman to great effect, the ship rows at S+S towards that fog bank with the hoppers safely inside.  With only 3 hits required to permanently sink the accurate ship, the Jades are determined not to let her get away. The Cursed attack isn't over though!  The Scorpion herself comes out of a fog bank and slices at the Grand Path! However, her fire shot backfires, which is very bad news for the Cursed. An icewreck rams the Grand Path to finish the elimination of her mizzenmast.


Slightly to the north, the Scythe fares far better than her sister ship, putting out her fire and slicing the final mast off the Beowulf:


Cramped quarters can result in amusing situations!  The Sickle engages her blades for the first time to send a boarding party to the Divine Wind, but the ones on the starboard side get stuck in an icewreck's berg!  She does manage to shoot a mast off the Grand Mountain, using her ability to great effect as she rolled a bunch of 3's today which would not have hit healthy ships.


The Hellfire puts out her fire and stands her ground (water?), blasting off the Asgard's last mast.


Some Cursed cargo ships returning home with gold!  If only the Jades knew what immense riches were contained in the hold of the Maman Brigitte, they might send the Hrothgar to intercept.  However, with the cancelling Guinee right there, and the MB nearly home, it would be a futile attempt in the first place.


Cursed cargo ships in the far west of Allost make trips to and from Broken Horn Island, which has produced luxuries all game.  Behemoth hasn't lost a segment yet but is eager to avoid any damage in order for the fog hopping squadron to flourish.


Finally, the long-awaited English attempt to hoist a cannon all the way up to the summit of Diamond Rock!  Getting the cable from the Malton in position takes an entire turn, but the English have been patient for a while now and will continue to exhibit that necessary quality here.


With various ships in some states of disrepair, the English fleet is slightly in disarray.  They have used a bit of chain towing to get the San Estaban behind the Metal Dragon, who will tow the prize home.  Various other ships are going home for repairs, mingling with the resource runners on their way by.


I didn't need another picture of the familiar Spanish fleet here, but it's worth noting that the Rafael has picked up a few UT's from Paradise Island left there by the Gold ship.  She may also be the first ship in the game to carry both gold and resources at the same time, though I think I'm mistaken.


The French take in 78 gold from valuable textiles found on The Flat, spending it all on 4 ships!  The Gaule is tasked with general island defense, and is equipped with shot to help her in that role.  La Possession has a completely new job: whirlpool diplomacy! Guy LaPlante has been chosen by Admiral Gaston as France's first "diplomat" in the game.  The Possession is tasked with going through whirlpools and investigating what she finds, and here she's crewed with a full complement to emphasize that mission.  The shipwright can repair lost masts, while the oarsman helps to protect all 4 vital crew. The French are brave to send the ship off alone into the unknown, but she is one of France's oldest ships (not just by chronological set order, but also in regards to my personal collection) and LaPlante is eager to see what lies in other areas!  The Felicite essentially has 2L guns, which are great for equipment. The face down chip actually represents exploding shot, which I have temporarily run out of. The Petit Dauphin is the fourth ship - her deckplate is not visible, but she will simply be another resource runner for the French.


Using their first two docks, the French launch 4 new ships.  Also note the large quantities of fish on their outer docks.


Nemo informs Gaston of the island east of the Harbor, and the French admiral immediately signals for ships to be sent there.


Noticeably quieter since encountering the French and the Pirates (though he didn't speak to Havana Black aboard the Deliverance), Commodore Preble sets all sail for the American home island.  He passes the gunships patrolling the area and gives them new orders.


The Fool's Hope loses another mast to Ralph David's squadron, but the Americans are finished.


-Turn 42-

There it is!  After saving up gold for a considerable number of turns now, the Pirates have finally spent all of it!  With a whopping 250 gold, the Pirates purchase the first fort upgrade of the game! This is represented by a block token, which must be loaded aboard a ship and unloaded at a fort to upgrade it.  Once upgraded, a faction can then launch ships and crew from that fort using gold from their home island!! I hope this is a fair cost for the fort upgrade. Cheaper would probably be too easy to exploit, but more than 250 gold starts to become ludicrous even by campaign game standards.  Furthermore, when you consider that the Pirates could have outfitted around 10 or a full dozen large warships with great crew complements for that same 250 gold, it really does seem like a huge expense. The Eagle has loaded the upgrade token and will sail straight back to Dead Man's Point.

If an upgraded fort is destroyed, the token simply disappears, since I do not really want a coin worth 250 gold floating around lol.  (although it would be interesting to watch haha)

The Pirates were at 246 gold when they took in 36 from textiles being cashed in.  The extra 32 gold got them 5 shipwrights and a couple new ships. Here the shipwrights are gathered on the ledge of the kingdom - better hope they don't jump!  XD


The new Pirate ships are the Neptune's Hoard (RV version, I can't stand the OE version especially after using it in Economy Edition lol) and the Shamrock, an underrated ship from Mysterious Islands.


Victory!  The Pirates finish off Ralph David's squadron.  The Concord burned, and the Freedom is doing the same here after David once again refused to surrender to Pirate scum.  The Flying Fish was dismasted by the Lady's Scorn and Recreant, with the Pirates embarrassingly having to use Jean Laffite's AA (Admiral's Action) on the Recreant after the Scorn only hit like 1/5 lol.  The Accused has already gone to the fort to repair, while Mission is telling the Pirates on the island to begin preparations and expect big things soon!


Back to the war!  It's not very practical to actually do, but here I wanted to show the shot from an artillery piece with one of the L range straws.  However, the shot missed.


A moral dilemma!  Knowing the GT is unlikely to be recaptured, the infantry on the island must decide whether or not to fire on their old comrades.  Tsai, Katsura-chan, and the helmsman all scream to be killed outright, fearing that the Cursed will torture them for information or just for fun.  Briefly hesitating, the infantry shoot their muskets, but miss the captured crew!


The Jade Rebels pull off a coup!  (COO!! XD) Sinking the Crushed Skull (!) to make space, a group of Jade ships shoots the Scorpion until she is ready for capture.  Then the Proud Tortoise maneuvers beautifully to tow the ship! It may seem like a waste since the ship is about to burn to the waterline, but the ship has the Eternal keyword and will soon reappear at the Jade home island!  The Jades gained a needed morale victory with this development, especially after losing the GT.


If the Monkey's Paw weren't in the fog, this would be the view from her mainmast.  The Glorious Treasure eliminates a mast from the Spilled Salt amid dense wreckage, mostly from the Grand Temple's huge sails.


More cannon shots boom out!  This time they are from a longship but aimed at one of the icewrecks!  I have made a new house rule, where shipwrecks can be separated from their icebergs and sink if they are hit as many times as they originally had masts.  In this case, the icewreck was hit 3 times, meaning the wreck would slip into the depths forever, leaving a regular (non-possessed) iceberg behind! The Jades quickly discovered this and were determined to rid the seas of the menace.


More Jade success!  The Grand Mountain continues to be a thorn against the Cursed, dooming the Scythe with fire!


Grateful to be released from Behemoth's grasp, the Polaris darts into a fog bank.  The Asgard and Hrothgar wisely do the same, living to fight another day and avoiding capture right at the Cursed HI of the Roost.


Oh jeez.  In an utterly pathetic day at the guns, the crew of the Grand Dynasty miss all 4 times against the Sickle, but also roll a 1 with Double Shot to shoot themselves in the mast!!   XD


A view of nearly the entire battlefield after the Cursed take their turn.  Notice they are retreating just as they did at the conclusion of the Battle of Fog and Ice!  The Cursed have lots of ships in need of repairs, and would like to lock up the Grand Temple as their grand prize.


In addition, notice that the Maman Brigitte has docked home her coins, which is another reason for the Cursed retreat....  The Sickle is putting some hurt on the Grand Dynasty, who is likely doomed due to pinning and the horrific failures of her own crew.


Holy Maman indeed!!  The MB brought back the best coins I currently have in play, with the 100 coin, the 60 coin, a shiny silver 6 (worth 18 gold), and a shiny silver 5 (worth 15).  This means the ship had just unloaded 193 gold at once! The Cursed go crazy, combining it with some saved up gold and spending 211 gold at the end of their turn!


Purchasing a sea monster squadron, the Cursed get the Serpent's Fang (who is an L booster for sea monsters), Tsuro, Tiamat, Maxehebel, and Squalo!  At the right, the Nightmare and Abomination are also launched, both with full crew/equipment arrangements.


With a very rare shot looking west at the Roost, the new Celestine is docked next to the Maman Brigitte.  However, I don't like trade currents and won't be using them in this game - her ability now gives her +S to her base move on a roll of 3-6, with no effect on a 1-2.  Still a very good gold runner for the Cursed.


In the Halls of the Dragon King!!  O_O Your first look at the interior of the Roost shows more new ships, with the Fallen Angel (towing the Death's Anchor flotilla), Madness, and Lilu (towing the relaunched Silver Coffin).


Back in the Caribbean...

The English have gotten their cable affixed to the summit of Diamond Rock!  The Malton is ready to hoist the artillery unit up!


This time the operation is successful!  The English have done it! They now have an artillery unit on the summit of Diamond Rock!  O_O


It took a long time and many many actions, but the English finally have cannons in all three viable areas of Diamond Rock.


On the other hand, the Galapagos finally succumbs to the flames, ironically pictured here in the shadow of the volcano:




Gaston and Lenoir meet aboard their flagships, with many things to discuss.  They talk about meeting the Americans and the Pirates, as well as their plans to utilize The Flat and the newly discovered island east of the Harbor.


The Americans cash in and combine that gold with some old coins to go on a spending spree!  They spend 127 gold, and for good reasons. Notice Ralph David on their HI! I have made a new ruling for Eternal for this game: if a crew has Eternal, they can only use it on a ship one time, but if that ship sinks again, the Eternal crew alone is returned to the HI.  The Freedom had used RD's keyword once, but her second sinking at the hands of pirates would be her final moment in the game. This is my attempt to curb Eternal shenanigans, although I'm not 100% sure yet what I'll do with ships that have the keyword. However, David somehow made it home alive, and immediately told everyone around how powerful and rich the Pirates looked (using hyperbole in abundance... ).  

David's second tale, even more impressive (and embellished) than the first, inspired William Eaton to commission another anti-Pirate squadron.  However, the Americans at home also had recent orders from Commodore Preble (the American admiral as of now) to launch warships and send them east through the opening in the reefs.  Juggling multiple priorities, David was promised a full squadron in time, but for now he would have to wait for more gold to flow in to have a ship for himself. The Georgetown, Gold Eagle, and Paladin (mistakenly not pictured here) were launched to combat the Pirates.  The James Madison would assist the Colonial Trader in getting metals from Ruby Island. Finally, the Albany and Seattle were launched to satisfy Preble's demand for more ships to head east. In total, six ships along with a couple more infantry units.


Another usage of ladders!  Now it's clear why some Pirate ships were gathering under the ledge of the kingdom - the shipwrights will descend from above so the ships don't create a logjam by entering the kingdom!  This was a brilliant move by the Pirates, who were able to keep their resource and gold system running on all sails but still getting shipwrights to the whirlpool squadron. That's right, each ship of the Pirate whirlpool squadron will be getting a shipwright.  That way they can repair outside the kingdom (not needing to spend time inside and create logistical headaches on their way in and out), and also repair after whirlpool travel when they go off on another mission!


The Deliverance and Feathered Hat get shipwrights first.  The Madagascar will get one from the Hat while the Sunrise Fire and Otter wait their turn.


Can't get enough of this ladder idea with the kingdom!  XD The climb down is somewhat dangerous, but the Pirates have the equipment and knowledgeable people around to make sure things go smoothly.


The all-important Eagle emerges from the kingdom with the fort upgrade aboard!  The Fool's Gold temporarily goes the wrong way to make room for the ship.


The Pirates are anticipating the arrival of their considerable investment, and have sent ships along the route to guard against any danger.  The Cassandra and Grand Barnacle are simply heading home with textiles, but the Queen of Cups, Golden Medusa, and Crusher have all altered course in order to protect the Eagle as she sails out to Dead Man's Point.


The Pirates complete their victory in the (First?) Battle of Dead Man's Point, capturing the Flying Fish with the Fool's Hope.  The Lady's Scorn is the only ship not damaged by the Americans in the battle, but it was still a lopsided victory for the Pirates.


The Scorpion sinks but goes to the Jade home island via Eternal!  The Jade Rebels now have a scorpion ship of their own to unleash upon the Cursed.  The Floating Stone, Muninn, and Grand Wind are all home for repairs, with the Grand Wind also docking home some spices.  Warlord Cavendish is shaken by his close encounter with the Cursed (Mist Walker and the Sea Hag), and sees them as a huge threat to the Jade Rebellion's survival.


The Sea Phoenix lands a shot on the captured Grand Temple, but the Jades give up the chase, knowing they won't be able to recapture or sink the former JR flagship.  After their first taste of direct combat, the JR cargo ships are back to running spices.

With the GT gone, defense of that wild island is now up to the smaller Jade ships that were undamaged from the battle.

Save the icebreakers!  Knowing they'll need them to combat the icewreck menace, the Jades use chain towing to get the Beowulf out of harm's way.


The Hrothgar and Asgard get lucky rolls coming out of the fog (both rolled to face in the general direction of home), with the Hrothgar blasting away at an icewreck on the way by.


Predictable at this point, but still pathetic.  The Grand Dynasty's fire spreads as she continues to miss the Sickle.


The Cursed begin their turn, and the Sickle finishes off the Grand Dynasty.  The GD has a disappointing run in this game, and is likely finished for the rest of it (unless I need to let weaker factions relaunch ships).  


In other news, the Serpent's Fang has given all four creatures +L on their first move of the game, and they depart the gates of the Roost!  No wonder they've been called the "gates of hell"!


An impressive cohort of Cursed cargo ships head back to their gold island.  The Nightmare and Abomination go to a fog bank, with not much other room available.  

Between this picture and the next, notice the fog hopping squadron hiding out for the time being.

The first major Cursed logjam of the game!  The GT is a big prize ship in the way, with the Pestilence repairing to port of the Banshee's Wail.  The Loa's Justice is another new Cursed ship, and one of their best cargo carriers. New ships depart while old ones come back for repairs:


I wanted to take a few wider shots from the Jade HI to show the scale of the JR/Cursed war and their operations:

(In the bottom foreground, notice the infantry unit tipping over to the right - perhaps a little too much rum after the battle ended?  )

A much higher view of the similar location: not as impressive, but there's obviously a lot of points out there, with various debris from the battle still floating around.


The general English area of the Caribbean, with a stalemate just off the northwest side of Diamond Rock.  At the lower right, the San Estaban has been docked at her new home, but has not repaired yet. This is because I am forcing derelicts to wait a turn to start repairing even though they normally could, since I like the time delay and it feels more realistic.  In addition, it only takes one turn to repair a mast even though two hits are required to eliminate a mast. (very unlikely to change, but important to remember)


Many French ships sail out of the Harbor, with the Soleil Royal and Dauphin Royal continuing to sail slowly east, Gaston and Lenoir still engaged in deep conversation....


ATTACK!!!!  In one of the shortest-lived alliances in history, the Americans break trust with the French and surprise them!  The Concord dismasts the Bon Marin and continues to the Vengeance!


With a VERY timely AA from Commodore Preble, the Concord shoots at the Vengeance with her second action, freezing the ship for her next turn with a chainshot specialist hit! (represented by the orange die in the water so I remember haha)  The Congress comes around the west side of The Flat to capture the Bon Marin, while the Minuteman sails around from the north to finish knocking a mast off the Vengeance!!


An American assault!  The Coeur du Lion is also hit, and the Americans have not held up their end of the alliance, to say the least!


There is URGENCY in the American fleet today!!  Preble is getting everyone ready for action, in multiple areas of the sea(s), and in multiple ways.  Cargo ships depart the home island, with the Albany and Seattle also setting sail for the first time.


The American area, with David's future anti-Pirate squadron currently in reserve (guarding against intrusion from the whirlpool) until the Americans can find a suitable ship for RD himself and possibly even more ships for the expedition as well.


Preble is determined as of late!  He sees a great future of American dominance, with a great resource system expanding by the day and various warships launched by night!  Here he makes all sail for the American HI, where he can better control launching operations to further his ambitions. In fact, the President nearly collided with the Providence on her way back, narrowly finding the gap between the ship on her port side and a dangerous reef to starboard.


There have been a few hints recently as to Preble's disposition, and today things have become clear.  Under his guidance, the Americans have big plans. They believe they can take on the French, and would love to control The Flat.  They anticipate more fortunate resource changes in the near future, at which point their vast quantities of saved up food, spices, and luxuries make them incredibly rich.  Finally, they are urgently carrying out operations and giving everything they've got to every task of every day!!

With that, Turn 43 comes to a close.  I enjoy opening a day of play and battle report with a resource change, since it is rather fitting, but here I decided to change things up and roll the dice at the end of the day's session!

UGH!!!  Oh no! To my great frustration ANOTHER THREE was rolled, meaning that textiles were still worth 6 and metals were still worth 1.  This would be the 4th time in 7 rolls that I rolled a 3 for value! I haven't even rolled a 1, 2, or 6 for value yet. Even more unbelievable, I rolled a 5 for duration again, meaning that this resource change was exactly the same as the last one.  (meaning that nothing changed, and the value roll of 3 is essentially being held for 10 turns)


There are various ways to change up the resource system a bit, which I look forward to unveiling when the time is right!  For now this is the action. Unfortunately a heat wave will prevent me from playing as much as I'd like to over the next week.  However, I'll try to do at least 2 turns Friday and Saturday, and one turn per day from Sunday-Wednesday. Turns are really taking a long time, and I'll do another point count soon as the game has definitely exceeded 2,000 total points by now.

Question: Who do you consider the victor of this latest Cursed vs. JR battle?  (both sides heavily damaged, Cursed capture GT but retreat, Jades capture Scorpion but have now lost the Grand Mountain due to fire)

9/22/2017

With some frustration over the exact same resource change happening again, I have decided to implement a system Xerecs and I may also use at some point in the World game.

-Players may agree to change the resource system. Instead of simply rolling a d6 for values and two d6 for duration, other options may be added for more randomness.
Example: A round of turns begins with the d6 roll. A 1 is rolled (on a 2-6 the resources stay the same, until a 1 is rolled on some other turn). Since a 1 was rolled, roll again. If the second roll is a 2-6 (anything other than a 1), the resources only change value for that turn. On the next turn, they revert back to whatever they were on the previous round, or a different system is once again agreed upon by all players (such as starting over with regular EE rolls, or using the system described in this example). However, if the second roll is a 1, the current EE rolls are disregarded, and new rolls are made (both for values and duration).

This has begun on Turn 44, and as long as I remember to do it at the beginning of each round, it will probably remain that way.  For the first roll, I got a 2, which meant that nothing would happen.

Only one turn was played today, but it was definitely a good one!

The Pirates use ladders so recently hired shipwrights can descend to the ships waiting below the ledge!  (The Deliverance and Feathered Hat have them as well)


With a fort upgrade worth 250 gold aboard, the Eagle makes all sail for Dead Man's Point, northwest of the Pirate Kingdom.  Mission himself has joined the escort force, which now also includes the Golden Medusa and Queen of Cups.


Speaking of DMP, the fort has a new visitor: the Flying Fish, an American schooner captured in the brief battle.  The Fool's Hope and Recreant will repair there as well, while the Accused rejoins the Lady's Scorn on patrol duty near the whirlpool.


The Pirates spend 51 gold on 5 small ships!  Not quite satisfied with their resource fleet after all, the Hades' Flame, Bloody Jewel, and Coral will help in the gathering of riches.  The Tejon and Carrion Crow are hired for island and perimeter defense.


The Grand Path docks home the Beowulf, while 4 other ships carry out repairs.  For this game I am letting turtle ships repair their shell panels.


Clearly the battle has ended.  The Jades form up in a defensive line to protect their territory and shield the damaged ships.  The line is weaker at the left with small ships, but becomes stronger as you go east with various 3 masted longships still healthy.


The Cursed now have 6 cargo ships running gold from their northern island, while the Nightmare (4 masted DJC version) and Abomination set sail for the first time.


With some difficulty the Cursed resolve most of their logjam out west.  The Jikininki guards the new Loa's Justice while ships sail to and fro, with some going to the Roost for repairs.


This is the general situation in front of the Roost.  The fog hopping squadron has been joined by the icewrecks in the fog, who are afraid of sinking or getting broken up by the Polaris and Beowulf.  Submerged sea monsters surge forward, though Tsuro uses its action for the turn to roll for its L-mover ability (unsuccessful). The Sickle has officially sunk the Grand Dynasty, eliminating a Jade 6 master from the game.  To the left of the Sickle, the Banshee's Wail has docked home the captured Grand Temple, though she has been moved to the area behind the Roost since she will take a long time to repair.


The English have gotten their artillery unit in position!  They are ready to fire it for the first time!


Since the cannons on the ships can hit things L distance away with gunports just above sea level, I knew I would have to do something about higher altitude firing in this game.  With the summit of Diamond Rock around L+L up in the air, projectiles fired from the summit would of course have a much greater range than cannons fired from the gun deck of a ship (just like the real Diamond Rock in the Napoleonic Wars).  Therefore I have made some custom measuring sticks for this game, and you already saw the S+S one. However, with the summit of Diamond Rock being one of the highest points of any terrain piece ever, I have given any artillery placed there L+L+L range!!  


The English fire off a shot from the summit!  It sails over the entire defensive wall of Spanish ships and lands a bit short of El Rafael, who is nearly off the map!  XD In this case the English would have hit if there was anything there, but I'm still working on the realism of having shots fired from high altitudes.  The English may experiment a bit with smaller powder charges, which could enable them to "bomb" things within L+L of Diamond Rock, or go with the full charge and have a wide swath of firing range!


Another view of the impressive firing range.  At the upper left, you can see the "edge" of the Caribbean, and how the cannon could potentially limit Spanish activity to that route on the outside of the Sargasso Seas if ships within the range can be hit.


While the English were gleefully testing out their new weapon, their workers got busy at the HI.  Three ships were launched: HMS Royal, Ark Royal, and Antelope. The first two are meant for war with Spain!  The Antelope will gather textiles for now.


The English are gearing up for an attack on the Spanish!  With their artillery at Diamond Rock terrorizing the Spanish fleet and potentially forcing them to sail new sea routes, the English see it as a great time to take advantage of metals being so worthless.  The Durham and Gibraltar flotilla are being joined by HMS Lord Algernon and HMS Victor, with the new ships arriving soon as well.


Welcome to the summit!  Keep in mind that due to the army unit rules (they must be given move actions to get into position), the English would have to expend an action on the cannon to give it a new line of fire.  However, as of now they like how it's aimed straight to the northwest, directly at Spanish trade!


The view from the English camp at the summit:


Spanish cargo ships are in trouble!  The Spanish continue to suffer at the hands of the English.


Looking down from the top of Diamond Rock at the stunned Spanish fleet below:


Spain answers!  With 28 gold coming in from Paradise Island, the Spanish spend it all on a new flagship: the Santa Ana!  With the capture of the San Estaban, the Spanish have been leaderless lately. Now they will be led by Duque Marcus Vaccaro.  He is usually a 0LR reroller crew, but for this game I have modified those crew to function as normal 3 point rerollers with no other abilities.  


The Spanish are ready to fight!  The Santa Ana is also crewed with a captain, helmsman, firepot specialist, cannoneer, and oarsman.


A new man-of-war is about to set sail.  She carries the hopes of Spain with her.


The French explore the wild island east of their Harbor, finding yet more textiles!  Textiles has been the most found resource in the game, as well as the most valuable on average.


The French don't want a war, but are forced to retaliate against the deceitful Americans!  The Dauphin Royal lets loose the first French cannon shots of the game, felling the Concord's mizzenmast.


Immobilized by the Concord's chainshot specialist, the Vengeance shoots 1/3 against the Congress.  The French are angry that the Americans not only betrayed their alliance, but also captured one of their best cargo ships, Le Bon Marin.


The French weren't in a position to do much damage, but many more ships are coming!  The Americans may have picked a bad time to attack the French, as the French just launched 3 new gunships.  The Possession, Gaule, and Felicite are speeding towards the battle area. With some help from the lighthouse, the St. Michel nearly reaches an American ship, showing that France is willing to risk some of her cargo ships to provide assistance in the battle.


After some deliberation, the Americans decide to stick it out!  This was a big decision, as all three attacking ships could have made it out of the area relatively easily.  However, between Preble's aggressive orders and the possibility of help coming soon, the captain of the Congress leaves his squadron at The Flat and doubles down on the gunnery!  The Concord is unable to hit the Vengeance with chainshot this time around, but she and the Congress dole out major damage. Lenoir (aboard the Dauphin Royal) prevents the Concord from moving and shooting, while you may have noticed that the Minuteman is absent....


Since the captain of the Congress sent her to go get help!  Knowing how serious Preble was about The Flat and Karkuda in general, and also noting the change in American imperialist attitude recently, the captain of the Congress knew that fleeing was not an option.  The Minuteman sped off to the northern whirlpool of the Sea of Karkuda.


Ugh!  The Minuteman rolls a 2 to emerge from the northern whirlpool in the Sea of Allost!  This is not what the Americans wanted, to say the least. The Minuteman was attempting to come out of the southwestern Karkuda whirlpool near the American HI.  Not only was this the wrong whirlpool, but the Pirates lurked nearby, and may see it as another attacking squadron coming through!


Suddenly realizing the seriousness of the situation, the captain of the Delaware decides that if the Minuteman was unable to reach home, there would be no saving the Congress, Concord, and likely the Delaware as well.  With a desperate "hard a starboard!" maneuver, the captain swung his ship around to the west, and hastily ran up a signal!! Having not given the President a move action yet*, Preble just managed to see the signal in time!  (you can see that the ships barely have a clear line of sight to one another, and could barely "see" each other since I am using vague but important relative distance criteria in this game to make the size more realistic)

*Timing of actions can matter a LOT in CG's, and it's often best to do combat first during a turn.  However, thinking things through can make a big difference, and contributes to how long these games take!  It's almost always far more strategic than regular small games.

Preble relayed the signal, and Brent Rice spurred the crew of the Bonhomme Richard into action!  The Richard was already on whirlpool patrol duty, watching for hostile Pirates, and therefore could easily sail into the southwestern whirlpool.  However, needing a 4 to emerge from the northern one since the Americans haven't traveled there yet, Brent Rice got a 5 to spin out of the same whirlpool!  XD


Fearing the worst for his eastern squadron, Preble demanded that more gunships try to reach the southwestern whirlpool.  They would attempt to emerge from the northern one and reinforce the Americans fighting the French. The only other ship that could was the newly launched USS Paladin!

O_O   Ohh boy!!  The Paladin rolls a 1 to emerge from the southeastern whirlpool in the Sea of Allost!!  This whirlpool was previously unknown to the Americans, and is a BIG deal. Now they can travel without rolling for location between their HI and this whirlpool, which is closer to the Pirate Kingdom than the whirlpool Ralph David has used twice now.  The Paladin loses her mainmast on the voyage, but her crew almost immediately sight various Pirate ships, and know that they're onto something important, not seeing the various reefs to the south that Ralph David had described in his tale. To the north, they also notice a huge hulking black object in the distance....  (though they can't quite make out what it is)


The Wasp is alone in the beautiful shimmering waters of the far northwest corner of Karkuda.  On a beach that previously held a bit of gold, her crew is surprised to find metal!


Commodore Preble reaches home and immediately begins issuing orders!  The Americans are motivated and ready to dominate! However, now they're a bit worried about the disappearance of the Minuteman and Paladin, not to mention their small squadron by The Flat.


A logjam at the opening of the reefs.  Preble himself experienced this on the previous turn, and would have launched a ship with more exploding shot to destroy more reefs if he had the gold.  However, the fight at The Flat was of more immediate importance.


And thus, two more American gunships are built to combat the French!  The Franklin is just about their most accurate vessel, and carries some firepots to light ships up during battle.  The Peacock is a swift, agile, and deadly vessel, who also carries a firepot specialist. (both have the mandatory captain of course, but I've been neglecting to mention that because every gunship launched will have one, and 95% of gunships launched will also have a helmsman)


With the Americans on the move and desperate for an empire, another turn comes to a close.  It was an entertaining one, and I really enjoyed testing range from the top of Diamond Rock for the first time and the operations of the Americans.

With a good amount of turns passing since the last point count, and various launchings happening frequently, I decided to do another point count!  This was done for deckplates only, so any army units, ladders/cables, and forts in play were not counted here.

9/22 ship and point count, in the order of play:

Pirates: 33 ships, 507 points
Jade Rebellion: 28 ships, 482 points
Cursed: 40 ships, 697 points
English: 24 ships, 367 points
Spanish: 14 ships, 167 points
French: 21 ships, 309 points
Americans: 25 ships, 418 points
Total: 185 ships, 2,947 points

O_O_O_O_O_O_O_O

In a complete surprise to me, I have already passed my Economy Edition game record (2,846 points) of the biggest physical game in Pirates CSG history!!!!  O_O :shock:

Wow!  I wanted to make this game bigger than my EE game from 2015, but I definitely didn't expect it to get this big after only about 2 weeks of play.  To be fair, my EE game reach only 100 points less in 11 less turns (last point count done on Turn 33 in EE), but that was with 5 factions on one ocean about the size of the Sea of Karkuda and oftentimes smaller distances between islands.  Although, my EE game likely reached between 3,100 and 3,200 points soon afterwards. Either way, the next record up would be VASSAL Campaign Game 1, which is the biggest game of all time at 3,516 total points, though it likely reached 3,700 soon afterwards.  O_O

By ocean:
Sea of Allost: 101 ships, 1,686 points
Caribbean: 38 ships, 534 points
Sea of Karkuda: 46 ships, 727 points

I do find it interesting that the Sea of Allost has a whopping 1,686 of the points in play (57%), although it is the only ocean with 3 factions on it.  With another megalaunch of 200+ gold, the Cursed have climbed into the points lead, as they did in the first point count. We already knew the English had a decided advantage over the Spanish in the Caribbean, but with over 2,000 points sailing around the other two oceans, perhaps Spain will call for help at some point?  Either way, I am looking forward to more exciting turns and will do another point count sometime, possibly after a big resource change if food spikes in value (meaning the French and Americans would both have a ship-ton of gold to spend lol).

As I said with the previous report, the ill-timed and unexpected heat wave will almost definitely prevent me from playing more than a turn a day for the next 7 or so days.  However, with the game about to reach 3,000 total points in size, it's also getting to the point where the length of a round alone can prevent me from playing multiple turns in a day.

9/23/2017

I was able to play 3 turns today, mostly since the first 2 were some of the easiest and fastest since the game reached 2,000 total points.

The Pirates' whirlpool squadron receives more shipwrights, while in the background, the Eagle has an entourage...


... as the Pirates are about to complete the first fort upgrade of the game!


The JR-Cursed situation, with the Cursed capturing the Divine Wind and both sides setting up lines of gunships around the perimeter of their islands.


The English continue to cash in textiles and launch immediately, getting the Resolution and Westminster to expand their whirlpool squadron.


The French continue to pummel the Americans!  The Concord is dismasted and captured, while the Congress is hit hard by the St. Michel and Possession.


Preble's Americans continue to send gunships through their whirlpool in an attempt to roll a 4 and emerge from the northern one, but the Bonhomme Richard rolls a 1 to emerge where the Paladin saw the Pirates!  Here Brent Rice gets his own view of the piratical activities:


Further failures for the Americans!  The Georgetown rolls a 3 to emerge in the Caribbean, and they just can't seem to roll a 4.


The Minuteman comes back to Karkuda, after a brief and mistaken excursion to the Sea of Allost.  She loses a mast on the return trip and therefore is not quite fit for battle, not that the Americans really have a chance at this point anyway.


The Albany and Seattle will be a bit too late to salvage the fight at The Flat.


The Paladin and Gold Eagle return from their unsuccessful whirlpool trip, with the former needing repairs after being damaged by both whirlpools.


The Eagle docks at Dead Man's Point, and the Pirates have the first fort upgrade of the game in place!  Now they can launch things from the fort, which is a BIG deal and should greatly help with the troublesome logistics of their kingdom.  I am still hoping 250 gold was enough of a drawback....


A broad overhead shot of almost the entire Pirate operation.  Two more 4 masters were launched today: you can see the Black Heart at the upper left and the Dragon's Breath nestled in the kingdom.  The BH carries Captain Elizabeth Swann, their second AA crew after Laffite. The Dragon's Breath is an expansion of their whirlpool squadron but may be too late to join them for their second adventure.


A wide shot of the western 1/3 of Allost, with various JR ships repairing and the Cursed resolving the logjam that was taking place on the west side of the Roost.


With the flotillas towed by cargo ships back near the Spanish HI, and the newly launched Santa Ana not quite there yet, the English nearly open their attack on Fortaleza Dorada and Paradise Island!  However, at the last moment they decide to add some crew to the Durham (who only has a captain and oarsman) and Victor (only a captain since she lost her helmsman in battle earlier) to optimize them and attempt to avoid losing more great gunships to fire.  The new arrivals Royal and Ark Royal take their place, while the Lord Algernon herself is in the area along with the repaired Serapis. The English still plan to strike soon. In the meantime, the cannon on the summit of Diamond Rock shot at the Anunciada, but missed twice in two turns.


The French achieve total victory at the First Battle of The Flat!  The Felicite has taken up towing duties of the Concord, while the Gaule captures the Congress!  Also, the Bon Marin is chain towed by the Dauphin Royal and Soleil Royal to get her out of harm's way.  The French system is still in full swing despite their surprise at the betrayal/sneak attack, with the St. Michel and Triton loading textiles while also looking for enemy ships to intercept.  The Possession has already proved herself as a great gunship, as she was more accurate than the Dauphin Royal in the battle. Gaston (aboard the Soleil) has decided that it's time he gets a new ship and/or gets a proper captain aboard.  Duncan Rousseau's reroll has been ineffective of late to boost his AA chances, and with both aboard the ship runs out of point space quickly. (11/13 points taken up by non-captain and non-helmsman abilities)


The Americans try AGAIN to roll at least one 4 to get access to the northern Karkuda whirlpool, but all 3 ships emerge or stay in the Caribbean!  The new captain of HMS Apollo is confused and sails in the opposite direction. XD Whirlpool travel is getting to a frustrating point, but I think it works well thematically and gives faction an interesting hurdle to overcome when traveling between oceans, which is a pretty big deal.


The Minuteman begins the somewhat long journey home to repair, while the Franklin and Peacock make all sail to join up with the 3 ships near The Flat.


Annoyed and unsatisfied, Preble hears of the recent whirlpool failures and decides to brave them himself!  He plans to use the President to find the elusive northern whirlpool from the southwestern one, possibly using the ship's reroll to aid him instead of using it on his own AA ability as he normally does.


The Americans are saving up the 4 resources that have the 4 lowest values, while cashing in the lumber and textiles that have recently been found just beyond the reefs.  They have certainly gotten good and diverse resource rolls in this game, similar to my EE game in 2015. The Yankee has loaded two exploding shots aboard... probably to destroy more reefs!  The current bottleneck has become a hindrance, and even one more reef out of the way would make a big difference.


A great shot of Mission's Pirate Kingdom!  Here you can see that it IS truly a "kingdom": nearly 600 points' worth of piratical activity sails the waves.  Three islands produce three different types of resources, two of which have been very valuable for every resource change thus far.  A fourth island has produced plenty of gold. The only attacks the Pirates have suffered has been at the hands of small American squadrons led by Ralph David, which were quickly dispatched.  The kingdom is in full swing! Notice a new 4 masted schooner at the northern entrance: the Bloody Spear has been tasked with simple island defense. Also check out the Royal Rover nearing the ledge, as a little swap will soon take place.


ATTACK!  Eager to get the first strike in their next conflict with the Cursed, the Jade Rebellion opens up the THIRD battle of their war!  The Dragon's Talon goes outside of S range of the Fallen Angel and connects, allowing the Glorious Treasure to finish off the mast with her ability.


Another battle erupts!  From left to right: the Sea Phoenix deals damage to the Death's Anchor flotilla, the Hrunting nearly dismasts the Lilu, and the Silver Coffin, Madness, and Jikininki all take minor damage.  The Jades are trying to focus their efforts to the west this time to cut off Cursed access to the "luxurious" Broken Horn Island.


But they also have enough ships to attack the Roost!  In an awesome display of firepower, the Huginn hits 6/6 to dismast the Pestilence!  


Then, in a brilliant move, the Huginn is awarded Sigurd Andersen's AA to capture the Pestilence and simultaneously shoot at the Sickle and Banshee's Wail!  However, the scuttle attempt on the Pestilence was unsuccessful. This was a rare example of a faction nearly eliminating an opposing gunship from the game with the efforts of one ship on a single turn.  (which is difficult to pull off here due to the house rules around mast elimination and sinking)


The Cursed strike back!!  Ready for anything, the Cursed weren't really surprised by the Jade attack (though they assumed they would wait for more ships to finish repairing first), and sent their new sea monster squadron into action.  Two serpents and a shark pin the Muninn and eliminate her helmsman. Tsuro stays behind to use its ability, which drags the Grand Path into range of the Nightmare! However, in a somewhat minor disaster for the Cursed, the Nightmare hits just 1/5 (5th shot provided by a musketeer) and watches her fire shot backfire to set herself aflame!  The Abomination, Serpent's Fang, and Hellfire are on the way but unable to get in range yet.


Viewed from the mainmasts of the Grand Wind, the icewrecks emerge from the fog and are ready to resume hunting Jade Rebels!  The Cursed are happy that both icebreakers are repairing, and see it as a good opportunity to terrorize with ice again.


Swift and predictable revenge: the Sickle, Banshee's Wail, and Needle (!) team up to take the Huginn down to 2 masts.  The fog hopping squadron is generally in reserve, but with most JR ships either out west or repairing, the Cursed saw it as an opportune time to take advantage of a few extra shots from the Needle.


Flotilla power!  The Death's Anchor hits 3/4 to nearly dismast the Sea Phoenix, but a much more impressive display is shown to the right of them.  The Silver Coffin rotated to shoot 4 shots at the Hrunting, and 3 of them were 6's! Then, with 5 hits already scored on her (only one hit needed to dismast), the Lilu shot a firepot with her remaining 4S cannon and also got a 6!!  Combined the duo got four 6's in five shots, with the Hrunting possibly doomed for good due to the flames. At the upper right, the Madness and Jikininki are ineffective against the Sea Lion and Hrothgar.


Back in the Caribbean, the English have completed their fortification of Diamond Rock!!  After loading one of the artillery pieces from the bottom, the Malton took it out to sea and then hoisted it up to the summit with a big cable!  


Here is something new that I haven't mentioned yet: a faction can exchange a captured ship and its associated crew for an equal total point value if the captured ship is fully repaired, but they must spend those points immediately.  (they can't be saved as gold) The captured ship is removed from play but can be hired by the original faction since it was never sunk.

In this way the English rid themselves of the San Estaban in exchange for HMS Wycliffe with a captain, helmsman, and firepot specialist.  (in this case the point costs of the ships and the crew complement happen to be exactly the same, but that isn't required)


In the southwest part of the Caribbean, the King John and Guy Fawkes get quite close to the Spanish home island:


English domination of Diamond Rock!  As part of my personal goal for the game (not necessarily for the English to do it, but any faction), they now have a historically accurate defense of the rock, which I love.  Two 24 pounders at the bottom, one in a cave halfway up, and two 18 pounders at the top!






The 3rd shot from the first cannon on the summit connects to damage the Santa Ana!


The Spanish take their turn, with the Santa Ana getting an EA for the first time to reach Fortaleza Dorada, where she will repair briefly.  By necessity, the Spanish are in defensive survival mode. However, resources will change again soon, and hopefully metals will skyrocket in value to make them more competitive.  (I did the rolls at the beginning of the turns today for the rules I laid out at the beginning of the last report, but didn't roll any 1's.)


French dominance of The Flat!  Paradis de la Mer is built on it, although with a new ability: "This fort ignores the first hit it takes each turn when it has all of its flags."  The Triton will tow the captured Congress home, allowing the Gaule to join the Dauphin Royal on serious patrol duty with numerous (and dangerous) Americans lurking to the north.


The Felicite speeds home with the Concord in tow due to the lighthouse's bonus.  The upper right also has some developments. France has a new gunship, Le Bonaparte (OE version).  The Coeur du Lion has repaired and is already headed back to The Flat. The Dijon has a new helmsman and has loaded some army units.


Uh-oh!  The Americans desperately continue searching for that northern whirlpool, but the Georgetown emerges in the Sea of Allost!  If the Pirates spot her and attack she might be in big trouble.


Very frustrated at this point, the crew of the Gold Eagle find themselves in the Caribbean again.


The whirlpool failures are forcing the Paladin and eventually Bonhomme Richard to go home for repairs.  At this point the Concord and Congress are far past saving, but Preble still wants to find the route from whirlpool #5 (at the lower left) and whirlpool #4 (near The Flat).  As said above, he will do it himself if necessary. From the approaching cargo ships you can tell the Americans will have some stuff coming in next turn, while at the upper right, the Franklin and Peacock have joined the other 3 American gunships near The Flat to form a solid 5 ship squadron.


One turn remains until the next resource change.  With today's launches, the game has officially exceeded 3,000 total points in size.  This makes it the only recorded physical game to officially reach that level! O_O

9/23/2017

This is not an actual battle report, but simply a few old pictures of the Cursed when they were "off camera".  

These pictures were taken on 9/13.  Sort of a "flashback" when the game was considerably smaller.


The Monkey's Paw was a recent purchase:


After the Soul Crusher and crew was bought for 33 gold:

(Also when the Samedi's Curse was still afloat)

The "gates" before it was truly... THE ROOST!  XD


Shal-Bala watches over the Cursed fleet:


And that was the Cursed and their Roost before things got crazy... and will get MUCH crazier....

9/24/2017

The Georgetown comes under attack from the Feathered Hat and Deliverance!  However, the Pirates roll an abysmal 1/5.


The Grand Path veers off from her conflict with the Nightmare to target that ship and the Abomination simultaneously.  Of course, the only miss was a 1 for exploding shot, which took off her mizzenmast (after it hit the Nightmare however).  The Muninn hit 3/6 against the sea monsters pinning her.


In a masterstroke of tactical strategy, the Huginn took off for a fog bank with the Pestilence in tow, after the scuttle roll for the prize was unsuccessful.  The Pestilence was then released from the towing once the ships were inside the fog, meaning the Pestilence is doomed, forever sitting in the fog bank! XD Although, perhaps the Cursed can manage a way to pull her out somehow....  At the left, the Grendel has taken a risk and gone all-out against the Needle, but fails miserably. She hit once in two shots but lost the S-board despite getting +1 to boarding rolls against the Cursed (lol, just further demonstrating how overrated +1 to boards is).


More "epic failures"!  Well, sort of. The Hrunting let the Naegling take her place in the battle line, with the Naegling dismasting the Lilu and nearly sinking the Silver Coffin if she hadn't rolled a 1 on one of the shots.  The Sea Lion continues to be the least effective ship in the entire war, as I would now estimate her shooting record to be about 1/10. Her guns are rank-4, but I usually hit with those about as often as rank-3 lol.  However, the Hrothgar hits 3/4 to dismast the Jikininki, taking the Cursed pest out of action.


A bit of a strange sight: ships fail miserably while sea monsters are effective!  The Nightmare and Abomination have been HORRIBLE for the Cursed, with the Nightmare's fire spreading and missing both her shots against the Grand Path.  Then, just like the Nightmare last report, the Abomination rolled a 1 on her fire shot to set herself aflame! Ugh, what a pathetic display in this war today.  Although, the triple-headed sea monster threat managed to hit 7/8 to completely dismast the Muninn!

The Nightmare and Abomination have set themselves on fire and managed exactly one hit on the GP combined (the mast was eliminated via the backfiring exploding shot).  The Muninn is a suddenly derelict ship floating amid her own wreckage.

The Fallen Angel tries to row the damaged Death's Anchor flotilla out of harm's way, but not before the DA damages the Glorious Treasure and Sea Phoenix.  The Cursed were absolutely inept today. The Lilu was derelict and couldn't tow the Silver Coffin into a better position. As a result, the SC's only target was the Proud Tortoise, but that ship is immune to L-range guns.  XD The Madness did manage a firepot specialist hit on the Sea Lion, the latter of which I wouldn't mind seeing at the bottom of the ocean lol. The derelict Jikininki prevents the Spilled Salt from attacking the Hrothgar, so the Salt turns away and heads southwest instead.  At the far right, I have ruled that icebergs and icewrecks can only damage a ship with one hit out of the two required to eliminate a mast, rather than mast elimination outright (which still happens when equipment backfires). The icewrecks have seemed too powerful to me. At the upper right, the Needle goes home to repair, not wanting any part of the Cursed-hating Grendel.  The Monkey's Paw is visible, fully repaired and ready to return to the war.

The Jades are already on the cusp of blasting away at Cursed trade, but the pathetic nature of both fleets' efforts may prevent them from a decisive victory.

The English whirlpool squadron reaches the Caribbean whirlpool, where the captains of the Westminster and Gold Eagle exchange words.  The Gold Eagle's captain seems in a hurry and appears confused, leaving the captain of the Westminster to raise his eyebrows. The English wanted to make sure they could all enter the whirlpool on the same turn, and now with the Resolution caught up, they plan to take the plunge next turn!


An array of American operations over their full turn.  Preble does indeed brave the whirlpool himself! However, he gets a 5 (which would spin him out of the same whirlpool) and then a 6 with his reroll, a 6 meaning that the ship stays in the same place and doesn't even get spun out of the same whirlpool (meaning it also doesn't have to roll for damage).  Having experienced the bizarre whirlpool shenanigans himself, Preble now understands the plight and confusion shown by his officers aboard other ships. He is still determined, but realizes he must be more patient. Word of the French captures reaches him, and he is understandably disappointed. The Gold Eagle returns from the Caribbean.  The Georgetown returns from her harrying journey to the Sea of Allost. They will join the Paladin and Bonhomme Richard as whirlpool victims in need of repairs. At the far right, the Yankee rolled a 6 with exploding shot to destroy another reef! This nearly doubles the gap available to the Americans, and should really help them going forward in their quest to expand.  At the home island, lumber and textiles are unloaded and cashed in! Preble shows how serious the Americans are, launching two of their best ships: the Frontier and Intrepid!


Turn 49 will see new resource rolls!  Hopefully I won't get a 3 and 5 again.  Ugh. Anyway, there will probably be a lull in the game here since I can't play many turns over the next few days.  In the meantime, feel free to speculate.

9/26/2017

Play continued, although only for about half a turn.  That's because activities in the Sea of Allost alone took about 2 hours, mostly due to a Pirate megalaunch!  

Turn 49: new resource rolls!  I was a bit disappointed to get a 4 for values, since I still haven't rolled a 1, 2, or 6 for values.  In fact, the last 5 changes including this one have all been rolls of 3 or 4. However, the duration was a positive - only 3 turns, the shortest duration of the game so far!  This continued a trend of resource changes lasting less and less time - the first 5 changes were all for 6 turns or more, but the last 3 have been 5 turns or less. The value change meant that metals were the most valuable resource again!  The Spanish rejoiced! The other factions were generally fine with the change, with textiles valuable as usual. The Cursed and JR saw their values drop even lower, but it's doubtful that it will stop them from waging all-out war on each other....


The Pirates!  They combined some saved gold with new gold via cashed in metals and textiles, and also cashed in a ton of saved up metals!  With a massive windfall, the Pirates suddenly have 393 gold, and they spent every ounce of it. O_O

The next 3 pictures show what the Pirates got for the biggest single-turn purchase of the game so far.  They could basically buy whatever they wanted, and with a very effective resource system already in play and more cargo ships only making more logjams at the kingdom's entrances, they bought gunships almost exclusively!  Three capital ships were launched, which will be the flagships outside of Mission's command from the Crusher. The Harbinger and Victoire have sac abilities and a combined nine oarsmen between the two ships, providing for massive extra action potential.  The Revenant will also be extremely deadly, with Griffin rerolling Calico Cat's EA and firing her cannons at rank-1 with the standard captain/helmsman combo also aboard of course. From the top left on down you can see more standard gunships with the regular crew complements in addition to the random specialist/cannoneer/musketeer crew.  The Rum Runner with HI-raiding Villanueva aboard is the only ship the Pirates launched that doesn't have a captain aboard!


The spending continues, with ship after ship after ship brought into play via the spending spree.  The Ballista is well-equipped to be a very effective suicide attack ship, while the 2 masted Pirate support gunships I love so much are outfitted to the max.  For example, the Raven is a 10 point ship but carries 5 crew for the maximum 10 total points! I like pairing specialists with 2S guns (since you don't have the shorten the range of an L-range cannon) and shot equipment with L-range guns (since you can take advantage of the extra range).  The Raven, Royal James, Executioner and Panda are some of my favorite Pirate ships. Also, it's worth noting that the Freedom's Hand will be towing the Pirates' second copy of the Widowmaker flotilla to have 6 shots at S+S range moving around at S+L speed. Nice combos everywhere!

I've generally memorized the stats and abilities of most or all the ships I have over time with my 400+ games played and time spent making fleets on Miniature Trading, so I can afford to cover things up and save space in the deckplate areas (which I need since they are very crowded already with how massive this game is getting!).

The last few ships the Pirates picked out, with somewhat less extravagant "extra weaponry" but still lots of pure firepower quantity.


Only a few turns after being completed, the fort upgrade comes in VERY handy!!  Without that option, the Pirates wouldn't even be capable of launching all 393 points' worth of stuff, so they'd have to split it up into smaller launches over more turns.  That said, this launch was so big that the fort is completely covered with new ships! They are beginning to look like the Pirate fleet from my Economy Edition game, a Pirate Empire that was previously unrivaled in historic size.  However, with how this game is going, Mission's Pirate Kingdom may even exceed that!!


The launch was so big that they couldn't quite fit all the ships at the upgraded Dead Man's Point, so the Rum Runner, Charles, and Xi'an are berthed inside the kingdom.


With 507 points in their fleet at the last point count, and 393 gold spent here, the Pirates have now become a 900+ point fleet!  Their efforts will soon allow them to exceed 1,000 points. O_O The megalaunch also means that the Sea of Allost alone has over 2,000 points' worth of stuff on it!


The Pirates do have plans to use their new ships, to say the least.  Mission is now very content with his home waters, and plans to send at least a squadron (if not a large one) after the Americans, especially since the Pirates can travel from their southern whirlpool (though not the northern one close to the fort) to both whirlpools in the Sea of Karkuda.  In addition, Mission plans to sail west soon, towards unknown and foggy waters....

Mission's Pirate Kingdom, perhaps starting to grow to an unmanageable size?


Back to the dominant war of the game!  The Jade Rebels have a decent turn, taking off the flag on the Death's Anchor and nearly dismasting the Spilled Salt (both courtesy of the Naegling).  The fire aboard the Sea Lion spread, dooming the ship. I can't say I'm unhappy about that, since the ship has been so ineffective and lame the entire game lol.


The Hrothgar does damage to the Jikininki and an icewreck, while the Grendel hits the Hellfire twice in a row to set the Cursed vessel aflame!


The Grand Path dismasted the Abomination and nearly killed Squalo.  In the foreground you can see 3 newly repaired Jade ships returning to the war effort - the Polaris, Grand Mountain, and Asgard are back in action!

The Jades are also piling up the spices, with 56 of them in addition to what's on their HI, but that resource has been the least valuable in the entire game, never being in the top half of values.

The Cursed take a turn, though they don't have many ships on the western front with which to defend their cargo ships.  The main development here is the Monkey's Paw, who has returned to battle after another extensive repair effort. Her firepower combined with both flotillas to eliminate two masts from the Naegling, a ship the Jades really don't want to lose and will therefore retire from the battle on their next turn.  At the upper right, the Madness and Spilled Salt sail home for repairs, while the Fallen Angel slowly tows the Death's Anchor away from the battle.


In a nice reversal of fortune from the failure-filled Turn 48, the Hellfire puts out her fire and combines with the Banshee's Wail to eliminate a mast from the Grendel!


The Cursed sea monsters were very effective once again, and the Muninn is sunk!  However, after being dismasted by the Grand Path, the Abomination succumbed to the flames and sank as well.  This meant that each side of the battle had lost a large gunship on the turn, which is pretty damaging considering the house rules around mast elimination and sinkings.  The Abomination left a hole which was conveniently filled by the Serpent's Fang, who shot effectively to damage the Grand Path (missing with her firepot specialist however).  At the left, the Nightmare has put out one of her fire masts and turned ghostly in order to sprint home for repairs if she can make it back in time.


That is all for now, as operations in Allost took about 2 hours today lol.  I hope to finish this rather grand turn tomorrow, when the Spanish will definitely cash in metals and get new ships!  I expect the English and Americans to launch as well, so it's possible that the game would become the biggest game EVER by the end of tomorrow!  (I'm not planning a point count, but since it surpassed 3,000 points the other day and saw about 400 points of Pirate stuff introduced today, plus the launchings tomorrow during the second half of the turn, it may theoretically exceed the 3,516 of CG1!)

9/27/2017

The second part of Turn 49 was finished today, with activities in the Caribbean and Karkuda providing little excitement but much in the way of long-term operations.

With no Spanish ships docked at or right near the home island, the English have struck directly!  HMS King John opened her gunports and hit twice in a row to destroy the lone Spanish artillery unit stationed there.  HMS Guy Fawkes didn't have a target but sailed west as well.


The English whirlpool squadron was ready to take the plunge!  All 4 ships went through the whirlpool, hoping to discover new areas.  Incredibly, just as they did before, the Metal Dragon and Bath both rolled 3's to reemerge from the same whirlpool, albeit with damage!  The Resolution rolled a 6 so nothing happened to her, which leaves only the Westminster...


... who rolled a 1 to come out of the southern whirlpool in the Sea of Allost!  The directional heading of 5 left her right next to Pirate warships of that faction's whirlpool squadron!  Havana Black spun around at the helm of the Deliverance, and his eyes narrowed at the sight of a Royal Navy vessel....


The English cash in 11 textiles for 55 gold and combine it with the 20 gold they had saved on their HI, spending 75 gold at the end of their turn.  In the foreground, the Caradoc carries CRGO, the first of two English AA crew. At the right you can see three new English warships: HMS Lord Kettering, HMS Resistance, and HMS Granville.  The English plan to augment their battle squadron sailing off of Paradise Island with even more ships. The tension has already been rising for several turns now, so a strike seems imminent and inevitable!


However, with metals luckily worth 6 gold apiece once again, the Spanish do a considerable launch of their own!  They spend 101 gold on 5 ships. From right to left: the Cristal del Obispo, Voz de Dios, Granada, Corazon del Mar, and Reconquistador.  Not only do those 5 ships just about double the fighting capacity of the Spanish Navy, they also give them a presence at their HI to deter the English from starting to cut off gold runners before they can reach home.  Most of the ships are crewed and equipped to the max, but note that the Cristal only has a captain, helmsman, and oarsman aboard, in order to leave 3 spaces open. The Spanish plan to use her as a super durable hybrid since their resource/cargo system could still use some work.  (they have been forced to buy for war due to the English)


Back in the Sea of Karkuda, the French have a small logjam at their Harbor but things are progressing smoothly for them.  At the bottom left, the Dijon has army units aboard which are en route to The Flat.


Nemo goes rogue!  Tasked with defending the island just east of the French Harbor (visible in the background at the upper right), Nemo has become extremely bored with his orders!  He anticipated being in the thick of the fight, not defending a boring island in some far-flung corner of the sea. In addition, he doesn't see his vision lining up with French plans.  He has changed the course of his Nautilus to point southwest, and speeds away from French waters. Who knows what he's up to??


Preble goes through the American whirlpool again, but instead of being spun out of it, he ends up in the Caribbean!  Yet another instance where the Americans just cannot seem to roll a 4 to guarantee passage from their whirlpool to the other one in Karkuda.  He arrives next to the English whirlpool squadron, who are similarly confused and disoriented. XD


Whoa!  The southwest beach of the big island has suddenly stopped producing food, which was found readily there the whole game so far!  However, luckily for the Americans and their canoes, textiles are discovered instead!


Continuing a big turn of big spending, the Americans cash in 16 metals and add 36 gold to the mix to spend 132 gold on a bunch of stuff!  They have a very diversified launch, which I'll explain over the course of these last 3 pictures. First off, Ralph David finally has another ship!  With a reasonably large windfall, the Americans could afford a proper ship for the Pirate hunter. What better ship than the OE Constitution, which gets +1 to her cannon rolls against Pirate ships!  A firepot specialist and oarsman join the standard crew aboard the new vessel, and Ralph David is ready to go hunting again!


American operations around their home island.  Along with Ralph David getting a new ship, the Bonhomme Richard and Paladin are now fully repaired, giving RD a proper squadron!  Of course, the Americans aren't yet aware of the Pirate megalaunch, in which case David would certainly want to wait for the Georgetown and Gold Eagle to repair as well.  Notice the new set of canoes at Ruby Island.


The Brandywine was launched for her ability to ignore terrain, as the Americans plan to send her east of Ruby Island and into new territory.  The Sioux, Cleveland, and Saratoga were all purchased to further reinforce the squadron that Preble eventually anticipates taking The Flat with.  At the top of the frame, the Springfield was launched to carry the tribal chieftain for the new canoes, and also to serve as a cheerleader ship in home waters.  She currently tows the Minuteman flotilla, the first one launched by the Americans! The Springfield is certainly a very odd ship, with an extremely high point cost and base move for a 3 master (along with low cargo), but these games allow her to shine a bit more than usual.  They certainly aren't new ships, but the Providence and Louisiana have loaded some army units to be taken to the lumber island west of The Flat. The Americans are preparing for potential war with France, and want to defend their border as best they can if the French strike first. (which you can tell is unlikely from what little French gunships there are, but keep in mind that even the Americans aren't aware of the Harbor itself yet...)


A few notes to flesh out this shorter report.

-I have begun running out of not just actual crew and equipment chips, but even the little paper ones that I originally made for new players that have the main generic crew (captains, helmsmen, explorers, oarsmen) on them.  To solve this problem I am planning to write things on the back of the ones I'm not using, which are mostly just the explorers. I will most likely abbreviate, so if you see things like that in a deckplate picture, my general plan is FPS=firepot specialist, FS=fire shot, GS=grape shot, SPS=stinkpot specialist, etc etc.

-Partly because they technically have no masts and partly because they are very effective for their point costs, I have decided that native canoes are not subject to the 2 hits per mast elimination rule.  Therefore each canoe will still sink after a single hit. (and partly because it would be very difficult to balance a marker die on any part of them!)

With that, the heat wave is nearly over!!  Between that and my vastly increased availability on Wednesday-Saturday (in this case Thursday-Saturday since today was still very hot), things are about to REV UP in this game!!   I am hoping to play quite a bunch the next three days, although with the game likely surpassing 3,500 total points with today's launches, one turn per day may still be quite a lengthy affair haha.  Many exciting developments are likely just around the corner, as well as some new discoveries even after about 50 turns have passed! (and since I am excited about breaking the record from CG1, I may do another point count as early as Saturday)

9/28/2017

What the heck is going on?!

Now that I've reached Turn 50 and a considerable amount of stuff has happened, I think it's a good time for the first recap of the game.

Oceans and rooms:
Sea of Allost: first ocean in the turn order, with the Pirates, Jade Rebellion, and Cursed
Caribbean: second ocean in the turn order, with the English and Spanish
-those oceans are both in "room 1" if you will
Sea of Karkuda: third and final ocean in the turn order, with the French and Americans

Fleet locations in play order:
Pirates: Far east in the Sea of Allost
Jade Rebellion: Southwest in the Sea of Allost
Cursed: Northwest in the Sea of Allost
English: East in the Caribbean
Spanish: West in the Caribbean
French: Northeast in the Sea of Karkuda
Americans: Far west in the Sea of Karkuda

What has happened:

Pirates: Have had nearly no conflict thus far, and have not started conflict with any faction.  Currently sourcing textiles, metals, spices, and sometimes gold from their 4 wild islands for one of the best economies  in the game.

Jade Rebellion: Only have one wild island, but the textiles it produced have been in the upper half of values (4 gold or more apiece) through all 8 resource changes.  However the island changed to produce spices, the least valuable resource on average that has ironically been the only resource to never be in the top half of values, always worth 3 or less.  After multiple investigations, finally found the evil Cursed faction and declared war after being attacked by them.

Cursed: Purchasing a powerful sea dragon early in the game, the Cursed have benefited from special house rules in addition to finding super valuable coins on a northern island.  The luxuries on Broken Horn Island have also provided a solid source for launches. Currently engaged in all-out war against the Jade Rebellion which is taking a major toll on both sides.  Also a "secret faction" until the readers discovered them through the eyes of the Jade Rebels.

English: Established a strong presence at Diamond Rock early in the game which has only grown stronger with time.  They have massively benefited from how amazing textiles have been, and now have beaten the Spanish in a few battles.

Spanish: A slow and cautious start was mostly fixed by finding gold and metals on Paradise Island, where they now have a strong presence in addition to the formidable Fortaleza Dorada.  Still losing their war to the English and are overly reliant on metals (usually worth 1 or 6 lately) to fuel their efforts.

French: The most isolated faction of the game until recently, the French were unaware of other factions for most of the turns so far.  Found immense quantities of food (fish) on their closest islands, which they now have huge quantities of on the docks of their Harbor. More recently they have discovered other resources and won a small victory over the Americans, who they briefly had an alliance with.

Americans: With many islands very close to their home island, the Americans have an economy that rivals that of the Pirates and the French.  Preble has whipped them into imperial shape and they have gone on a tear recently, but constant whirlpool frustrations and some overzealousness has delayed their progress of late.

Alliances:
Americans/French (already broken)

Wars (with instigator listed first):
English vs. Spanish: English winning, but timely Spanish launches when metals skyrocket in value has kept things largely in check
Cursed vs. Jade Rebellion: JR's declared war after Cursed dragon attacks.  With 2 major battles concluded (both indecisive for the most part) and another one ongoing, this one is ugly, bloody, full of hate and with no end in sight.

What is happening:

Pirates: Recently took over the points lead from the Cursed with a megalaunch, the Pirates look very strong and appear ready to finally strike back against the Americans after Ralph David led two American whirlpool expeditions against the Pirates.

Jade Rebellion: Struggling a bit with spices never valuable, they are simply fighting the Cursed and want to win at all costs.

Cursed: With a solid economy fueling their war effort against the Jades, the Cursed have long-term plans that have been put on hold by the frequent and intense battles.

English: Finally satisfied with the fortifications on Diamond Rock, the English have turned their attention to Spanish-controlled Paradise Island and have been assembling a major squadron to attack it.

Spanish: Fighting to stay alive!

French: Fully established control of The Flat but really hoping for food to become valuable so they can beat the Americans back and continue exploring Karkuda in peace.

Americans: Reeling from their loss to the French and major damages due to whirlpool failures, the Americans are still looking strong due to their great economy.

What will happen?/Future plans

Pirates: Want to explore west of their kingdom, and strike back against the Americans with a whirlpool squadron of their own.

Jade Rebellion: Defeat the Cursed, kill Shal-Bala, and finally get around to exploring the Sea of Allost properly and possibly finding trade partners and allies.

Cursed: Kill the Rebel scum!  Then, execute grand plans with a long-term "solution" for any opposition....

English: Drive the Spanish out of the Caribbean and establish total English hegemony!  Afterwards, get whirlpool ready and figure out what lies beyond, where the Americans must have come from....

Spanish: Take Diamond Rock and look for allies in other oceans if necessary.

French: Get Nemo and the Nautilus back and explore all of Karkuda.

Americans: Take The Flat, go after the Pirates in the Sea of Allost and establish an American Empire!

~~~~~

Turns 50 and 51 were played today!  The size of the game is completely spiraling out of control, and into completely unknown territory.  

With little anticipation since the previous few rolls hadn't been 1's, I did the extra roll at the beginning of each turn to see if the resources would change at all.  I was surprised to see that for the first time since instituting the rule below, I rolled a 1!

In case you forgot:
A round of turns begins with the d6 roll. A 1 is rolled (on a 2-6 the resources stay the same, until a 1 is rolled on some other turn). Since a 1 was rolled, roll again. If the second roll is a 2-6 (anything other than a 1), the resources only change value for that turn. On the next turn, they revert back to whatever they were on the previous round, or a different system is once again agreed upon by all players (such as starting over with regular EE rolls, or using the system described in this example). However, if the second roll is a 1, the current EE rolls are disregarded, and new rolls are made (both for values and duration).

This promotes more resource randomness, and makes the game more exciting and less predictable!  The second roll was a 3, meaning that resources would only change value for this turn, which happened to be the milestone Turn 50.  However, the third and final roll (for resource values on this specific turn) was the most shocking and crazy of all!! A FIVE was rolled!!!  This meant that food would be worth 6 gold apiece for the first time in ages! O_O Suddenly, things were shaken up completely in terms of purchasing power!  If you remember from the last handful of reports, both factions in the Sea of Karkuda have been stockpiling enormous amounts of food, which suddenly went from 1 to 6 in value per token!!  The French and Americans rejoiced and as soon as the 5 came up I knew they would go completely bonkers with launchings. XD With that in mind, no wonder I could barely even finish Turn 51 today lol.


The Pirates begin their turn by attacking the Westminster, an English ship that had come through the whirlpool near Pistol Island on the previous turn!  With the ship already missing a mast due to whirlpool damage, the Pirates were able to dismast the ship, needing the Sunrise Fire to finish the job since the Deliverance couldn't use her L-range cannons.


The Royal Rover is underneath the ledge of Mission's Kingdom for a reason - the Pirates have upgraded Bartholomew Roberts!  Paying 12 gold, here is my custom version, which is based on history and how Black Bart was able to capture a ton of ships in his career.

Bartholomew Roberts
Pirate crew
18 points
Captain.  Reroll. This ship can tow a ship by touching a derelict in any location (not just the bow), and can immediately initiate towing after resolving any action. This crew can be assigned to any ship of the same nationality regardless of point costs; if this crew's cost is greater than the ship, no other crew or equipment can be assigned to that ship.


The new Pirate fleet from their megalaunch departs the upgraded fort of Dead Man's Point and joins the existing Pirate ships!


Uh oh!  Although the Pirates use some gold to launch the Bruja at the island, it has run out of textiles!!  This is the first Pirate-controlled wild island to run out of a resource.


To the west!

Elsewhere in the Sea of Allost, the Sea Tiger finds that spices are no longer on the JR wild island - food is found instead!!  I wanted to make Turn 50 something special, and it was turning out to be just that!


The Polaris rams an icewreck:


The Grand Path retreats with half her masts standing, as the Jades know they can't afford to lose another capital ship.  The Grand Mountain and Asgard take her place, killing Tiamat!


With the Naegling also retreating from battle, Olof Linstrom gets off a shot at the last second to sink the derelict Lilu!  It was a good turn for the Jades, as they permanently eliminated two Cursed game pieces from play.


The Cursed strike back!  The Asgard loses a mast and her crew are paralyzed by Fear, which would slow her on the next turn if she hadn't been pinned as well.  The Serpent's Fang hits with a firepot to put the Grand Path in danger! However, the GP is already approaching the Jade HI and will likely make it back in time.


The Monkey's Paw only hits the Glorious Treasure once.  After a few ships have sunk and the damaged fleeing for repairs, the battle area is considerably less crowded.  At the right, the Hellfire and Nightmare return to the Roost for repairs in addition to a new captain for the Hellfire.


The Half Moon is surprised to find that spices have replaced textiles as the resource on Diamond Rock!!  Similar to the Pirate finding, this is the first time all game that the English have experienced either a resource shortage or a random change.


With the English whirlpool squadron failing as miserably as the Americans', the Westminster manages to return to the Caribbean on oar power and reports to the captain of the Resolution on the Pirate attack.


Speaking of attack, it was finally time for the English to strike!  The Ark Royal would be the first ship in the battle, and the English were ready to initiate the (First) Battle of Paradise Island!!  With a predictably lame outcome, the Broadsides Attack failed with a 1. XD


The English open up their gunports and resume the next phase of their war against the Spanish!  The Santa Catalina and Armada take damage, while the Anunciada and Catedral del Mar are set aflame!  The Catedral was the hardest ship hit, being blasted by both the Serapis and Victor. A view of the action from the top of Diamond Rock:


With a view from the southeast, you can see the Durham at the upper right.  She hits 1/2 and does slight damage to Fortaleza Dorada. The English want to destroy the fort and claim the island as their own.


I like the natural daylight effect of not using the flash and seeing the various shadows, but sometimes using the flash can illuminate things brilliantly.


The Spanish strike back, although it is mostly ineffective.  The Royal loses a mast but the Anunciada's fire spreads, dooming the ship before she can even fire a shot....


Fire everywhere!  The Extremadura's fire shot backfired, but the Catedral hit the Serapis with her firepot specialist to make more smoke and flame:


Even more!  The Santa Ana sails into the fray on the far side of Paradise Island, and combines with the fort to take two masts off the Durham.


Reinforcements on the way!  Spain is eager for her 5 new gunships to reach the battle area:


A rare shot from the northwest:


Continuing the trend of random resource changes all across the seas, the French find that metals are produced on their northeastern island instead of textiles!  However, the French are far more concerned with a different resource...


FOOD!  With an insanely massive stockpile saved up for quite some time now, the French can finally cash in their food for gold!!  The tokens here combined with the amount they had saved off-camera (on an index card I mentioned earlier so I don't have to go searching for coins all the time only to have them converted to gold in the long run) gave the French a whopping 99 food tokens!!


You can quickly note that 99*6 gold apiece = 594 gold, and the French combined it with metals and gold from their home island to spend a ridiculous 639 gold all on one turn!!  O_O

In fact, the launchings of Turn 50 represent a potential "road to war" or a massive GEARING UP if you will, at which point you may want to listen to this throughout the rest of the report as an excellent buildup/rising tension song.

The French launch 16 new ships!  That may seem very low for that amount of gold, and it is, but for a good reason...


40 of the gold was spent on 4 new docks, doubling the total number of docks in the Harbor to 8!  You can see them here in the upper right and upper left corners of the Harbor. The French needed them just to launch all the new stuff!  


On the east side of the Harbor, you can see some of the new capital ships.  The Superbe, Ville de Paris, and Corse are visible, as are the Belle Etoile, Eroica, and Argus.  


On the west side of the Harbor, more new ships everywhere!  The Libellule, Pluton, and Pique will be cargo ships, while the Delacroix, Gaule, and Hercule are launched for war.  Check out the little "sick bay" dock at the upper right, where the captured Congress will soon begin repairing! This is similar to my old HFS harbors, where deep and recessed parts of the harbor is where the most severely damaged ships would be repaired over long periods of time.  On the Royal Louis (RotF version with Parley) you can see why the French only got 16 ships for all that gold - check out the blue fort upgrade token (250 gold purchase price) on the main deck! O_O


With a rare view from the north, you can see the docking system the French have built in the Harbor.  The Charlemagne is another French 5 master that was launched, one of five such major capital ships. From the deckplate picture you may have noticed a few odd ships as well - the French plan to actually use the Solitaire and Crete Argentee in this game since points are of almost no issue and their cheerleader abilities could help out a large squadron during a battle.


The French Harbor is complete!  (likely, at least for now)


An impressive display of riches and power:


To the Americans!  Preble returns from the Caribbean, albeit with even more damage than the President sustained on the way out.  Ralph David's newest Pirate-hunting squadron, consisting of the Constitution, Bonhomme Richard, and Paladin, is ready to set sail through the whirlpool!  On the islands, notice that even more resource changes have taken place, as Ruby Island now produces spices instead of metals and Luck Island has run dry for the second time in the game.


The Frontier loads resources for the first time, using her hoist to grab some lumber!  The Intrepid joins the American squadron off The Flat, increasing their numbers to six gunships strong.


More reinforcements!  The Providence and Louisiana are still ferrying resources, but carry some army units to the lumber island.  The other three ships in the foreground can make the American Flat squadron number 9 gunships.


The French had more food saved up than any resource stockpile of any other faction, but the Americans had a ton as well!  They cashed in 74 food tokens (25 less than the French, but still a ton) and combine it with a small bit of gold for a windfall of 459 gold!  Then, they immediately spent 365 of it! No less than 21 ships are launched, even more than the French put forth! (I have even started running out of paper crew chips in addition to the real ones, so I'm writing things like "H 2" on the backs of useless explorers to denote helmsmen and the like.  Of course I know that a helmsman costs 2 points, but I'm writing it to make the point counts faster.)


The Americans just barely fit all their new ships at their home island!  A perfect fit! XD


The Americans placed their ships strategically in the right positions, with the fastest ships sailing out first and certain objectives leading to certain parts of the island that a ship is launched at.  The Jarvis and Boston for example, have abilities and crew aboard to let them be dedicated fort wreckers, which the Americans need to retake The Flat. The Americans are determined to expand further east into Karkuda and have launched ships designated as troop transports to expand their "empire".  The Carolina, Jackson, Atlanta and Bartlett are carrying three army units each, and all have been given orders to reinforce American positions on islands and beaches. Many small but effective gunships have been launched, mostly for the purpose of potential war with France.


After an insane 5 HOUR Turn 50, I was finally able to continue!  XD

Turn 51 begins with the Deliverance jumping into the whirlpool near the Pirate Kingdom!  She improbably rolls a 3 to emerge from the Caribbean whirlpool, which means that suddenly the Pirates are aware of the Caribbean as the home of the English!!  This also means that the Pirates have access to all 4 other whirlpools without needing to roll for location when they travel from their southern whirlpool in the Sea of Allost!  Not only that, but Havana Black sacced an oarsman to give the Deliverance an extra action coming out of the whirlpool, and attacked!!


And they're here!  The Pirates are in the Caribbean!!  XD


The entire Pirate whirlpool squadron surges forth, not needing to roll a 3 as they simply followed the Deliverance's lead.  With their exploratory whirlpool squadron quite successful (finding both other oceans without too much difficulty), the new launches from Dead Man's Point will now have an easy time finding some Americans to take down...


... as the Flying Fish ironically gets things going!  The Pirates thought it would be funny to send the captured American ship to the Sea of Karkuda first.  It did trick the Americans for a moment, until Ralph David realized that the ship was now crewed by his least favorite thing in the world: Pirates!!


ATTACK!!!  The four Pirate ships that used to guard Dead Man's Point surge through the whirlpool after the Flying Fish, with the Fool's Hope being given an AA from Captain Elizabeth Swann (aboard the Black Heart back in the Sea of Allost) to attack the Constitution and Ralph David himself!  The Constitution and Bonhomme Richard are damaged, and the Constitution loses her oarsman and part of a mast in the lost boarding party.


In the Sea of Allost, the Golden Medusa is guarding the whirlpool while more Pirate gunships make their way to it!  After being extremely crowded, Dead Man's Point seems strangely empty, with textiles no longer being produced on the island and all of the Pirate ships setting sail.  The squadron of effective but small Pirate support gunships have headed east, as they will not brave whirlpool damage due to their size.


From the mainmast of the patrol ship Cutlass, an imposing sight.  The Sea Nymph is in the foreground, but in the background you can see 3 of the most dangerous ships to ever sail the waves: the Revenant, Harbinger, and Victoire, all ready to fight with various double action crew.  At the right, Mission smiles in glee at his success and good fortune, and has joined up with the "super squadron" of sorts....


DMP isn't empty for long!  With metals once more becoming the most valuable resource as the values reset (a 4 roll for 3 turns, with 2 turns left including this one), the Pirates continued their absurd spending rate, launching 5 ships from the upgraded fort.  4 of them have the home island raiding ability, in an ominous and dangerous homage to the past perhaps? The Lady Newport also comes into play along with some infantry units to help guard the fort.


A wide shot of the declining JR-Cursed situation.  At the left, the Dragon's Talon has taken the derelict Sea Phoenix under tow, as she has 9 points of crew aboard and carries some nice 2S guns.  The Proud Tortoise sails behind the stern of the towed ship, hoping her L-immunity will prevent the Monkey's Paw from interfering and trying to sink the SP.  However, on their turn the Cursed simply used Tsuro to move the SP into a fog bank where she is lost forever, essentially sinking the ship! At the upper right, notice that the Jades have not retreated from the battle entirely: the Grand Mountain sets the Serpent's Fang aflame with exploding shot!  In addition, the Beowulf and Asgard damage Maxehebel as the Polaris destroys an icewreck once and for all.


In a terrible spot, the crew of the Westminster decide to row back into the whirlpool, rolling a 4 to emerge in the Sea of Karkuda!  The Resolution does the noble thing and blocks the Deliverance while shooting at her, likely sacrificing herself in the process. However, the English aren't used to Havana Black and his "ghostly" ship....


Carnage mounts near Paradise Island!  The Royal does major damage to Armada, while the Serapis suffers a setback when her own fire shot backfires just a turn after the same thing happened to her sparring partner, the Extremadura!  The fast Ark Royal and Victor shoot the gap in the Spanish line, breaking it! (this was not planned or staged to look like historical Royal Navy tactics haha)


The Ark Royal tries another Broadsides Attack, and this one connects!!  The Alquimista loses 2 masts and the English have directly struck Spanish trade!


A view directly above the stern of the Lord Kettering.  At the left, the Malton is mostly obscured behind Diamond Rock.  At the right, HMS Durham scurries home to extinguish her fire, letting a bigger ship take her place...


Admiral Thomas Gunn and HMS Lord Algernon officially enter the fray!!  The Lord Algernon easily dismasted the Catedral del Mar and then set Fortaleza Dorada aflame with her firepot specialist!  At the right, more English ships have joined the battle! The Granville used double shot and fire shot perfectly to set the valuable Santa Ana on fire, while the Resistance used an AA from Owen (CRGO) to blast away at the fort!


Paradise Island is starting to resemble hell instead, with the deafening roar of cannons amid constant smoke and fire:


Believe it or not, Thomas Gunn almost turned the Lord Algernon around when he heard news about the Pirate attack in the south.  Figuring his other gunships could take care of the threat and that he needed to concentrate on the Spanish in the far north, he stuck to his plan and his guns.  At the right, three English ships are launched to counter the Pirate threat: the Plantagenet (+1 to cannon rolls against Pirate ships), Henry VIII, and Orkney.


Spanish reinforcements arrive!  However, only two ships were in range of English vessels this turn.  The Cristal del Obispo dealt damage to the Victor and Royal, with the Lady's Scorn missing 0/3 against the Royal.  The Granada has become entangled in a sargasso sea, while the Corazon del Mar and Reconquistador look to get into action soon.


After some nice maneuvering by the Spanish, both flotillas in the area were able to shoot at the Ark Royal, nearly dismasting the ship and also killing all three of her crew due to Armada's ability.


The fire inside Fortaleza Dorada spreads!  However, the Santa Ana has a nice turn, docking at the fort to eliminate her own fire while simultaneously setting the Resistance aflame with her own firepot specialist!  The Resistance also lost her mizzenmast from the fort's artillery barrage. (the fort didn't shoot at the Lord Algernon since 3/5 of the Lord Algernon's cannons are L-range and the fort would need to hit all three times to get past the Lord Algernon's ability and eliminate a mast)


Paradise no more?  Spanish soldiers struggle to extinguish the blaze at Fortaleza Dorada:


With metals worth 6 gold apiece once more, the Spanish cashed theirs in for 36 gold to get two gunships they would need.  The Profeta is very boring but the Asesino de la Nave was possibly the first ship I ever built, and definitely one of my first 4 ships ever!  Her foremast was broken a bit long ago but the tape job has held great over the years and she is ready to fight once more!


-Back to the Sea of Karkuda-

After going rogue, Nemo has continued to pilot the Nautilus south of French waters, and here you can see his submerged vessel coming upon a large black rocky structure!!  O_O


The Nautilus disappears into that opening you saw, and suddenly Nemo is gone!!!  O_O


Introducing: Captain Nemo's Mercenary Submarine Hideout!!


Now it is clear why Nemo went rogue!  After being hired by the French, Nemo knew there was a chance he'd be able to conveniently "escape" from his employer in order to take refuge in a classic Mercenary base.  Knowing that his old hideout was somewhere south of the French Harbor, Nemo took a risk and made a break for it. The submarine hideout has been in the Sea of Karkuda the entire time, but it was abandoned after a falling out among the Mercenaries stationed there.  However, it is still operational! The submarine hideout was a naturally black rock with natural sea caves inside and underneath it. Since discovering it, Captain Nemo has heavily modified the island to suit his needs. Using typically advanced Mercenary technology, Nemo installed steel doors designed to look like wood or light-colored vegetation from the outside.  The doors are mechanically operated and Mercenary submarines can open and close the doors whenever they want!


The western side (for this game) of the hideout, showing the other doors at the base.  Each of the four sides has two doors that Nemo and his comrades built. I wonder what Nemo will do now - hide out and wait for the French to forget about him, or even open up use of the hideout to the French and play along that he was helping them the whole time?


Back at the Harbor, the French depart!  Only a few ships are coming in, while the new launches go out.  Certainly unrealistic from a logistical perspective, but the French know what they're doing!  XD The Pluton is the only ship completely unable to move in the logjam, and soon French ships will be swarming all over the place.


No shots fired here!  Guy LaPlante hails the remaining crew of the dismasted Westminster, who narrowly escaped capture in her own home waters of the Caribbean after the Pirate attack.  Some words are exchanged, and the French learn that the Pirates seem to be a dangerous foe with a penchant for sneak attacks. The English crew say they wouldn't mind some help, but the French respond that they have no idea how to get to the Caribbean and are busy reinforcing their weak position at The Flat.  A bit of a surprise - Anglo-French peace in their first encounter of the game:


The first batch of reinforcements arrive at The Flat, though it's not much.  The Dijon drops off some army units, while the Bonaparte takes the place of La Possession, who still may go through the whirlpool soon if Gaston or Lenoir gives the order and the French don't need the ship in a potential fight with the Americans.


Oh wow, total carnage in the deep southwest!  The Americans launch a counterattack against the hated Pirates, doing major damage.  At this point, ALL Americans are beginning to hate the Pirates. Ralph David had convinced some of them a while back, but now the American fleet has a Pirate invasion on their doorstep!  David himself nearly goes into a rage when the Constitution rolls two 1's in a row to start her broadside against the Recreant, but rolled a 6 and a 2 to (barely) set the ship aflame.


At the lower right, BOTH the Paladin and Brandywine hit the Accused with firepots, dooming one of the best 3 masted Pirate gunships in the game.  The Bonhomme Richard blasts the Fool's Hope, and the captured Flying Fish is the only ship not damaged in the attack.


A busy scene: canoes go home with newly found spices, new cargo ships join old ones in the trip to Luck Island, and at the top of the frame Preble has returned home to repair and launch some new ships to counter the Pirates with.  The United States lumbers forward but will take some time to reach the battle area.


Mass departure!  The Sea of Karkuda is becoming VERY busy, an absolute hotspot of activity that may only increase in intensity over time!


The Americans send MASS reinforcements to augment their half-dozen ships currently stationed west of The Flat.  No less than 10 proper gunships are headed east, with some other captained ships (like the Philadelphia and New Orleans, launched to capture enemy ships) and troop transports joining them.  The Providence has already begun unloading troops at the lumber island, while the Louisiana carries an artillery unit. Talk about GEARING up!! XD


With 365 gold spent last turn and 88 this turn, the Americans have introduced an additional 453 points into the western 1/3 of Karkuda in one day.  Combine that with the Pirate squadron showing up through the whirlpool, the huge French launch, and the English discovering Karkuda and the French faction in general, and the Sea of Karkuda is absolutely blowing up!


The 4 new American ships.  The Saratoga shields Preble's President from harm, while 3 nice SCS ships make their entrances: the Appalachian, Overton, and Hudson.  At the right and upper right, the Destiny and 4 US blockade runners make their way towards the Pirate battle, since the Americans have already sent a large squadron east towards the French and the Americans don't know if more Pirates are coming!


With that, a big day of play comes to a close.  Launches alone took a huge amount of time, and I can say that over 1,100 new points were introduced to the game today.  The French and Americans alone combined for over 1,000 gold spent!! This is why I said above that the game is entering completely unknown territory.  Assuming the game had already reached around 3,600 total points at the start of the day, it is now likely over 4,600. :shock: O_O Things are becoming completely insanely ridiculous to the point of total nonsense.  XD Just kidding, it's manageable but definitely gigantic to an extreme lol. As a result, the average turn may take about two and a half hours for the foreseeable future, and that's without any megalaunches of 200+ gold.  If you're wondering, I still plan to do a point count soon, likely after I (hopefully) complete a full turn on Saturday.

Many, MANY developments are still to come.  As I hinted at with the song, things are just boiling at a high temperature right now.  The tension is rising in all 3 oceans to the point of absolute bedlam all around the world.  The future is unclear, but one thing is for certain: TOTAL CHAOS AWAITS. O_O

9/29/2017

Here is the report for Turns 52 and 53!

Here we start in the Sea of Karkuda instead of the Sea of Allost, as the Pirates are in combat with the Americans!  The Fool's Hope surges forward and rams Preble's own ship, the President!! However, the fires aboard threaten to consume the ship.


It really is a true Pirate invasion!  No less than 5 new ships emerge from the whirlpool, with 4 gunships and the Rum Runner, who has HI raider Villanueva aboard.


The Accused survives!  Due to how powerful fire has been in this game (too powerful in many circumstances), I have made a custom rule where a ship can extinguish all its fires if it rolls a 4-6 after the regular whirlpool damage roll (basically ships that are burning roll an extra time when going through a whirlpool, but this roll can only help them and not hurt them).  The Recreant doesn't put out her fire, but she also avoids losing her final mast, and it's possible that the Pirates will be able to repair both ships! In the meantime, even more Pirate ships approach the whirlpool, looking to absolutely flood the American area with piracy!


Havana Black turns the Deliverance ghostly to sail through English ships!!  The Deliverance uses her first action to dismast the Honu Iki (directly smashing English trade!), but misses with her other shots.


The Otter and Madagascar use their handy shipwrights to repair, while the Sunrise Fire discovers the Duke shipwreck!  The Pirates are annoyed at seeing the wreck of a fellow pirate ship, and get angry when they assume the English are responsible.


The booming of cannons!  The Deliverance uses a sac action to ghost through the Wycliffe and shoot at her from the southern side, hitting 4/5 to take off two masts.  The Feathered Hat and Dragon's Breath surround the Resolution and dismast her!


I know it's a bit silly with a giant Mickey Mouse watching over the events lol, but I like taking sea level shots like this sometimes.  I like how the gold from the Duke shipwreck leads straight to the last coin residing there. A bunch of masts are in the distance, and the giant Diamond Rock completely obscures Paradise Island.


Captain Mission has wanted to explore west of the Pirates' Kingdom area for some time now, and he finally gets a squadron ready for the task!  Not far west of the Gold island, the squadron discovers what they had seen from a distance in the past: a huge WALL of fog!!


What could lie beyond?  It looks dark and intimidating.




Well, I could only keep this a secret for so long!  The mass of fog hides one of the creations I'm MOST excited about....


Calico Cat got her extra action, and the Revenant bravely sails into the fog!  


With the Revenant almost completely disappearing from view, Mission aboard the Crusher is now about as unsure as he's been all game!


The Pirates purchase an artillery unit to be stationed at Dead Man's Point, and also launch a new ship.  The Lady's Scorn (RotF version) will be Jean Lafitte's new ship. He has captained the Grand Barnacle for a while now, but transferring him to the LS will give him a built-in reroll for his AA ability in addition to freeing a cargo space on the Grand Barnacle.  The home island raiders have departed the island, while the 2 masted gunships are on general patrol duty.


The Hrunting completes her repairs, while the Grand Path gets home to put out her fire mast and do some repairs of her own.  At the edges of the picture you can see other Viking ships coming in for repairs: the Naegling, Grendel, and Huginn.


The Beowulf rams and absolutely CRUSHES an iceberg and splits it cleanly in half!  The shipwreck that was the driving force behind it immediately falls into the water and begins sinking.  The icebreakers' shots against the Serpent's Fang tell, dismasting her and making a statement!


The Polaris destroys an iceberg, and the western half of Allost is looking a lot cleaner of late.  At the right, the Grand Mountain is burning badly and turns around for eventual repairs.


Not backing down from the fight, Jade turtle ships again engage the Monkey's Paw in swarm fashion!  I believe this is the third time in three major battles between the two factions where this has happened: the Monkey's Paw fighting nearly alone against a host of JR turtle ships.


The Naegling and Hrothgar are in need of major repairs, and the Glorious Treasure will join them:


The Monkey's Paw rolls very effectively for Fear, which will cause minor trouble for the Dragon's Talon and Proud Tortoise.  The MP then moves south and combines with Silver Coffin to blast panels off the Floating Stone.


The Cursed island that has produced gold all game has finally run out!  Luckily for the Cursed, just a turn later they find textiles! (that face down coin is the Trees UT)


Broken Horn Island now produces lumber instead of luxuries!


I forgot to mention it last report, but the Cursed finally finished repairing the captured Grand Temple and Divine Wind!  They used the trade-in rules to get rid of those ships and get new Cursed ships! The GT has turned into the Divine Dragon, my original Cursed flagship and a veteran of MANY great games, as those of you who have read some of my oldest reports would know.  She is in great condition and joined by the Hades' Realm, another great Cursed gunship. Combine those with the Sickle, Madness, and Hellfire (the latter two being repaired just recently) and the Cursed have a strong presence at the main entrance to the Roost. At the right, the derelict Serpent's Fang was able to put out her fire from earlier and rows into a fog bank.


Back to the Caribbean!

HMS Apollo misses both of her shots, but the Metal Dragon and Wycliffe team up to eliminate masts from the Deliverance and set the ship aflame!


Braving a reef (where a roll of 3 or lower would wreck the ship!), the Resolution rows towards the English home island, knowing she could be sunk or captured if she didn't take the risk.  Beyond her, the Caradoc and Plantagenet are ready to provide support next turn, daring the Pirates to come across the reef in the meantime.


To counter the sudden Pirate threat, the English mobilize their reserve gunships that were stationed south of Diamond Rock.  The Burma, King John, and Guy Fawkes answer the call, while the Duke of York continues to stand guard against the Spanish. At the upper right, the Lady Provost has taken the Honu Iki under tow while the Cheshire loads spices.


Back at the First Battle of Paradise Island, the Serapis is doomed to her fires!  However, the Santa Ana is pummeled by the Granville and Lord Algernon, losing two more masts and her cannoneer!


In the shadow of Diamond Rock, war rages on.  The Granada is damaged, but the English aren't able to cripple the larger Cristal and Voz de Dios.


From the guns atop Diamond Rock, you can see that the English warships have raked the bows of the Spanish:


An effective Spanish counterattack!  The Cristal gets stuck in the sargasso sea while maneuvering for a better position, but the Victor takes damage and the Malton and Lord Kettering are hit as well.  The Extremadura had a nice turn, docking at the fort to eliminate her fire mast while simultaneously shooting to dismast the Ark Royal. At the lower right, the Royal has lost her final mast.  Notice the Santa Ana scurrying away! She got an extra action and decided the damage she could do with 2 shots was not nearly worth being sunk or captured. The Spanish are desperate not to give up on Fortaleza Dorada, but they made the right move here to try and preserve one of their best ships.  Notice that the Spanish cargo ships have stopped towing the flotillas - in another nice move, the Spanish leave the very expendable flotillas near the fort to preserve some firepower there and cover the damaged ships' retreat.


Looks like 3 on 3 at this point, but those flotillas are pouring a heavy fire into the Victor!


Back to the Sea of Karkuda!  

What's that!?  One of the doors to Nemo's sub hideout is opening!


And another opens on the other side!


The Mercenaries are here!!

Nemo has officially gone rogue to start his own Mercenary faction!  He was given 30 gold to start a fleet, just like the other factions at the start of the game.  With it he commissioned the Mobilis with linked crew Eileen Brigid O'Brien and a helmsman, and the Devil Ray with a helmsman.

The Mobilis discovers a brand-new island!!  This is Fish Island, named for the distinctive shape of the shell, not the resource.  XD Especially if you look at the island upside-down, it could look like a fish jumping out of the water with a fin, tail, mouth, and eye!


Nemo accompanies the Devil Ray in the Nautilus:


The French are up next in the turn order, as the Mercenaries will go first of the (now) three factions in the Sea of Karkuda.  Guy LaPlante was hired for diplomacy, not war, and sends the Possession through the northern whirlpool! In a potentially chaotic result, the ship takes damage and emerges from the southwestern whirlpool of the same ocean!  Uh-oh!!


French army units are moving north across The Flat, where a ton of French ships are headed.  Just outside the Harbor wall, the Westminster is rowing away from the whirlpool? I wonder where she's heading?  One thing is for sure: her crew don't know if the Pirates are still swarming around the Caribbean whirlpool, so the crew don't want to risk a potentially fatal return trip.


The mass departure from the French Harbor continues.  At the upper right, an important crew swap has taken place.  Admiral Gaston de St. Croix has left the Soleil Royal to board the Bourbon, a ship with built-in reroll perfect for his AA ability.  The Soleil retains Duncan Rousseau and a helmsman, but receives more fighting crew as well. Gaston is still the supreme French commander (at least for now), but he will lead from afar and trust his senior officers aboard the capital ships to lead in any battles.


And now we go right into the thick of the fight!  This is the hottest and most crowded action in the game right now.  Back at the American whirlpool and home island, the Pirates and Americans have become locked in a death struggle.  The Saratoga and United States pulverize the Fool's Hope from both sides, toppling her final two masts. The Pirates are fine with that, since Eternal will warp the ship home once she succumbs to the flames.  The Lady's Scorn has two fires of her own burning as well after another devastating broadside from Brent Rice's Bonhomme Richard.


Ralph David shoots at his former ship (the Flying Fish) aboard the Constitution.  At the right, the Rum Runner uses Parley to avoid being shot at by the Paladin.


In a not-so-surprising move, the Brandywine sails up and fires point-blank into the Possession!!  Guy LaPlante is knocked over by a blast, which sets the ship aflame! American-French tension has been rising recently, and all American captains have been told to engage French ships as they see fit.


The Americans spend even more gold, which may put them at over 500 gold spent over 3 turns.  The Saratoga, Hannah, Vermont, and Septem Maria are launched to help out against the Pirates and possibly against the French eventually as well.  Preble is shaken by his near-death experience with the Fool's Hope, but this only makes him more focused and determined to win!

Due to the schooners repairing and the battle just to the south, only one canoe from the new set can dock.

The American Armada just keeps coming!  O_O


....


Turn 53 marked the need for new resource rolls!!  After 4 turns of chaos and bloodshed, what result would dictate the next stage of the game??

A 5 is rolled for value and duration!  This means that food is once again the most valuable resource, just as it was on the monumental Turn 50 and at various points early in the game.  The Sea of Karkuda is already becoming extremely crowded, and with food readily available to the French and sometimes the Americans, that is not likely to change anytime soon!  This change hurt the English the most, but all the other factions have decent resources available with the new values.


Seeing 4+ fresh English gunships approaching from the northwest, and new launches coming out from the northeast, Havana Black decides to pull his whirlpool squadron out of the Caribbean for a break!  The Pirates announced their presence to the English in grand style, and did some big damage to the Honu Iki, Wycliffe, and Resolution. However, this squadron is mostly exploratory, and isn't meant to be lost on one expedition.  Therefore, they are retreating for now so they can repair and decide on their next mission. (Mission has given Black full control of the squadron, so he can do as he wants with it) It looks like the right move, since the Sunrise Fire was the only ship of the 6 not to lose a mast to the whirlpool on the return trip!  The Deliverance put out her fire with a regular 5-6 roll before the return trip, so no worries there.

At the top, those infantry units were recently unloaded at the gold island by the Paradox.

Oh my god.  The Pirates send 5 more ships to the American whirlpool!  It's an utter logjam!! XD


Here the flash illuminates the battlefield, which is becoming crowded to the point of madness.  If you're confused, I'll try to make some sense of it. Directly northwest of the whirlpool, the Pirates have an impromptu "line of battle" with the Lady's Scorn, Ballista, Delight, and Jape.  The Centurion is accidentally trapped between the Delight and Ballista by coincidence, but at least it shields her from enemy fire haha. At the bottom, three Pirate 4 masters have emerged right at the edge of the Sea of Karkuda.  On the right, notice that the Rum Runner has disappeared! Villanueva wanted to rob the American HI, but after seeing the ridiculous logjam and the plethora of American gunships in the area, decided to back out! It was certainly the right thing to do, because without Ghost Ship and extra actions, there is NO WAY any Pirate ship is about to dock at the American HI lol.  At the bottom right, LaPlante mistakenly finds himself on the edge of the battle, temporarily making it three factions in the area. All this while the Roanoke and Bellevue try to load metals from Luck Island on the left! XD


You can see the Rum Runner is damaged from the whirlpool, but the Recreant has put out her fire mast and will survive just like the Accused!  I was very happy about those two gunships staying alive, since there have been so many of my favorite ships lost to fire already. I will admit that my soft spot for the Accused was what partially led to the whirlpool house rule where fire masts can be extinguished on a 4-6, but it does apply to all factions and all whirlpools, and makes sense given how well water puts out fire of course.  North of the damaged ships are the HI raiders; I hope they're not going to try to rob the Americans! XD


The Fool's Hope burns to the waterline but her Eternal keyword kicks in, returning her to the bowels of Mission's Kingdom!


O_O

THE FOG LIFTS!!!!


Introducing: The Tunnel!


I will be doing a proper introduction of the Tunnel once a faction fully understands it and can see the whole breadth of the structure.  For now, you see what the Pirates see, as usual! XD


Calico Cat aboard the Revenant leads the Pirates into the Tunnel.  Mission himself follows, awestruck at the immense natural structure:


Looking skywards from the masts of the Crusher:


The darkness inside the Tunnel.  O_O


More on that later!!  XD

The Jades rejoice as their food becomes valuable!


Launching for the first time in quite a while, the Jades get three new Viking ships: the Wiglaf (who gets +1 to cannon rolls against the Cursed!), Wodin, and Fenrir.


A broad shot of the Cursed area.  They are gathering gunships under the Roost and running resources as normal.  The Monkey's Paw shoots to dismast the Floating Stone, but the battle is mostly over.  Inconclusive as usual, it was a slight Jade morale victory more than anything else. Both sides lost some stuff, as the Cursed lost 3 sea monsters but the Jades lost the Muninn, Sea Phoenix, and Sea Lion.  Both sides are completely exhausted and spent after 3 full-scale battles in the war. Not much of anything has been achieved by either side! XD Again though, I don't mind that since naval warfare in the Age of Sail was often similar.  Right now it's just two factions beating the carp out of each other without regard for much else. XD


The shocked and stunned English are suddenly in peaceful waters south of Diamond Rock.  Saddened and confused by the Pirate attack, they will now begin the long process of repairing, regrouping, and reestablishing trade routes, although not a ton of ships were affected by the raid.  The English definitely plan to have an official "whirlpool defense squadron" stationed near the whirlpool to prevent future disasters.


Paradise no more!  A messy scene of death and despair, as Fortaleza Dorada burns.  In fact, it will continue to burn. The Resistance and Lord Algernon teamed up to eliminate the fort's final flag after the fire spread again, and the garrison stationed there is simply charred corpses.  The rules for a burnt fort will work slightly different than for ships: the fort goes out of play on the faction's next "next" turn, as in two turns after having only fires. However, it will burn to the ground at the beginning of that turn, rather than when the faction chooses as in the case of the automatic scuttling by fire masts rule.  The 6 on the Ark Royal shows that the English have scuttled that ship, but she is Eternal and will return to their home island, though all her crew were killed by Armada and the ship was nearly sunk by gunfire alone. Truly the horrors of war in this picture!


The battle continues, with absolutely CRUSHING blows dealt by the Spanish!  The Malton and Lord Kettering were largely ineffective for the English, and the Spanish fought back hard.  The Victor was sunk (!) by the flotillas, while the three Spanish gunships hit very often to cripple the LK and dismast the Malton.  At the top right, the Spanish have even scored a coup, capturing the Ark Royal (who was about to return home via Eternal scuttling) with the Extremadura!


The First Battle of Paradise Island is likely almost over.  The English dominated in the far north, nearly dismasting the Santa Ana and destroying the fort by fire.  However, the Spanish have done extremely well southwest of the fort in the most recent 2 turns, turning the tide a bit and really showing the English that they won't be easy to defeat or eliminate.


With the metals from Paradise Island still quite valuable, the Spanish are able to launch 3 new gunships.  The Acorazado (OE version), Ebro and Serpiente join the fleet. The Spanish are saving the SM Acorazado for a later time in the game, assuming the OE version will be sunk or captured and assuming the Spanish will not be eliminated anytime soon.  The Acorazado is one of the best Spanish ships for Master Gunner Rogelio Vazquez, who comes aboard (as he did in my EE game) to turn all 5 of the ship's S-range cannons to L-range! The Santa Catalina gets a new helmsman while the Alquimista and Santa Ana join her for repairs.  At the right, more Spanish success! HMS Royal was captured by the Corazon del Mar and chained towed by the Profeta, giving the Spanish a potentially powerful gunship!


The guns atop Diamond Rock have damaged the Corazon del Mar, but the Spanish have won a very important victory in the second phase of this First Battle of Paradise Island.


The Mercenaries have signaled their arrival!  All three submarines surface to dock at the wild islands:


The Felicite, Delacroix and Ville de Paris arrive at The Flat, while the Amazone unloads another infantry unit.


The Americans started their turn with their battle against the Pirates, but logistical difficulties meant that they needed to advance their entire chain of ships north of their home island to even allow the canoes to dock and other ships to move out!  XD So I'll do this part first haha.

ATTACK!!  Surging forward, and maneuvering to stay out of Lenoir's cancelling range, the Intrepid kicks off the Second Fight at The Flat!!  Her cannons are effective as the Dauphin Royal is set aflame and one of the French infantry units is blasted into the ocean! Lenoir is thrown into the air by the explosion aboard the Dauphin, with his back slamming into a wall and various Frenchmen dying in the attack.


The Americans declare war on the French!!  Hardly a surprise, but here we go! The Cleveland inflicts a hit on the Dauphin while the Grampus surges forward!  A ton of American ships behind follow suit!


And it's on!  The Albany and Seattle round the north cape of The Flat, with the latter blasting apart an artillery unit.  The Delaware, Peacock, Franklin, and Yankee are all present as well! LaPlante can't seem to escape the warfare, as the Possession leaves one whirlpool of death to emerge at the beginning of another major battle!


O_O  Literally like an assembly line of firepower and soldiers, the American war machine is in full operation!!


The Americans have a continuous double (sometimes triple!) line of warships going all the way from their home island to The Flat:


The Americans declare war on the Pirates!!

The carnage mounts in the southwest!  The Rickets proves difficult to hit, but the Lady's Scorn, Ballista, and Claret are pulverized.  The Americans do some neat maneuvering so the Hudson, Destiny, Overton, and Appalachian can all get shots in.  At the upper left, the cargo ships get out of the way. From this scene, I counted a maximum of 25 ships involved in the battle.


A forest of masts on the battlefield, though it threatens to become more of a forest fire!  XD


With 3 or 4 ships blasting away at the Lady's Scorn, Preble is finally able to repair the President.  At the right, the Ballista was quite effective against the Bonhomme Richard earlier, but now the Americans get revenge.


Speaking of the Bonhomme, she moved on to fight the Jape.  The Paladin was very effective against the Claret, who has taken direct hits to her hull from the Hudson and Destiny.  The ship has lost most of her crew and is now burning out of control. At the left, notice the Centurion still perfectly intact, shielded by Pirate ships but also unable to shoot as a result!


With LaPlante's Possession fleeing, the bloodthirsty captain of the Brandywine moves on to attack the Bruja instead.  When they came through the whirlpool, these newest Pirate ships rolled pretty well for damage, keeping them healthy unlike the exploratory whirlpool squadron that took major damage on their trip home.


After a lot of complex maneuvering, the canoes are finally able to dock!  The Americans spend their last chunk of gold on two additional Minuteman flotillas, which will guard their HI and Preble himself for the time being.  In fact, those were my other two duplicate American flotillas, so all 3 that I own are shown here.


So to recap, in the order of play:
-Pirates discover The Tunnel
-JR-Cursed war sees a THIRD battle mostly conclude, indecisive once again
-Pirates pull whirlpool squadron out of Caribbean after doing major damage to some English ships
-English win first part of battle around Paradise Island, but Spanish have decisively won the second part and look to have a major victory (Fortaleza Dorada lost, but the Serapis and Victor were sunk and the Ark Royal and Royal captured, though getting the AR home will be difficult).  Plus, the resource change favors the Spanish for now.
-The Mercenaries officially arrive!
-On the same turn, the Americans make dual declarations of war against France and the Pirates.  They have instigated another Fight at The Flat, and are fighting an intense action against the Pirates near their HI and whirlpool.
-HEAVY warfare in the Caribbean and the Sea of Karkuda!

With turns taking such a long time to complete, the likelihood of playing partial turns increases.  For example, finishing operations of a turn in ANY one of the three oceans feels like a decent accomplishment right now lol.  Another point count is coming....

9/30/2017

The Pirates venture deeper into the Tunnel they had discovered last turn!


A view of the dark interior from the other side!  Calico Cat doesn't even realize she has come out the other end of the tunnel...


For the Revenant ends up in a fog bank!  


Various Pirate ships approach the eastern entrance to the Tunnel, curious about the new finding.


Three Pirate ships go to Dead Man's Point for repairs, and Villanueva (aboard the Rum Runner) tells fellow HI raiders to NOT go through the whirlpool near the American HI.  It is absolutely swarming with the chaos of battle. They heed his advice, and the Mystic is sent through the northern Karkuda whirlpool to investigate that situation....


The Mystic pops out near the Possession, who returns from the American-Pirate battle as did the Rum Runner.  The crew of the Mystic hear gunfire to the southwest where The Flat is, and it's about to get a LOT louder....


The Pirates finish their turn in the Sea of Karkuda, continuing their attack!  However, no more ships arrive from their whirlpool, which could mean that all the Americans have to face in this battle is already in the area.  Of course, it's still quite a force.


The Pirate ships closest to the American HI aren't that effective:


However, the recent arrivals show their might!  The Centurion pairs with the Jape to dismast the Bonhomme Richard and set her alight, dooming the ship AND Brent Rice, who has been a staple of American command for a long time!  O_O


The Paladin's crew are Fearful of the Bruja, though the Pirate ship only hits 1/4 against the Paladin and Brandywine.


Ralph David is in trouble aboard the Constitution:


At the end of their turn, the Pirates launched the Silver Dagger, who loaded all three of their ladders....

The JR home island is busy once more.  Some ships dock for repairs, while others have already begun the process.  Other ships leave, some for resources and some for the war against the Cursed.  The Jades have already repurchased the Grand Temple after she was traded in by the Cursed!


Cursed ships go to and fro, with the Spilled Salt replacing the damaged Monkey's Paw around the war zone.


The Caribbean.  English ships stand guard near the whirlpool and Diamond Rock, while the Resolution, Wycliffe, and Durham look to carry out repairs.


The Lord Kettering is given Owen's AA, using it to set the Voz de Dios on fire and capture the Extremadura, who was dismasted by the Resistance!  This allowed the English to recapture the Ark Royal and re-scuttle her, reversing the events of the previous turns where the Spanish managed to save the Extremadura from fire and also capture the Ark Royal.


Eileen Brigid O'Brien brings the Mobilis to the surface!  Exploring Fish Island, the Mercenaries find textiles! XD (currently being barfed up by the "fish" lol)


Back at The Flat, the French counterattack!  The Intrepid is nearly dismasted, and at the right the Delacroix has been given Deleflote's action to cripple the Albany, one of the USA's most accurate ships.


Many French ships are sailing west and reaching The Flat!  Guy LaPlante is looking for quick repairs and plans to dock the Possession at The Flat rather than going all the way home.  He knows the risk he's taking by putting his ship closer to the battle. Le Superbe may be a fantastic ship for this crowded battle area, as her lines of fire are not blocked by other ships.  At the right, the Royal Louis approaches with the fort upgrade....


Looking directly north at the French Harbor.  They have 84 gold saved up, with more coming soon.  It may seem like they should launch to fight the Americans, but their reason for waiting is likely obvious....


The Americans surge forward and strike with full force!!  The Dauphin Royal is set aflame, while the Gaule loses two masts.  In one of the best shoot actions of the game, USS Seattle goes 5/5 (with double shot) to crush the Bonaparte and set her aflame!  At the north end of The Flat, the Peacock has explored the island for the Americans, since it's such a large island that the fort doesn't prevent another faction from exploring it from the other side.  This could allow the Americans to land troops there and assault the fort from land! O_O


The Seattle and Franklin are extremely effective, putting serious hurt on the Bonaparte and Delacroix:


Up close in the most crowded area!  There are so many American ships that they will have to wait their turn in the battle line.  The two French capital ships shielding the rest have already taken major damage, so it's only a matter of time until fresh ships are needed.  This will likely be a brutal slugfest of attrition!


The various American troop transports are nearing The Flat, while the Intrepid and Albany retreat.


O_O  Devastation in the southwest!


Literally the hottest action of the game right now.  The Lady's Scorn will soon burn to the waterline. USS Overton has shot 4/4 to hit both the Ballista and Jape, making up for the RotF Saratoga going 0/3 in her first shoot action of the game.  The Appalachian tries to shoot the gap in the Pirate line, which is weakening a bit.


The Brandywine, Hudson, Paladin, Adventurous and Destiny damage the Bruja and Centurion:


The Constitution and Speedy Return team up to take a mast off the Rickets, while the United States gets a successful Broadsides Attack to take two masts off the Delight!


From the opposite side.  The Springfield (towing the Minuteman) has arrived to give ships within S of her +1 to their cannon rolls, but in a similar problem the Americans are having at The Flat, the horde of ships is so thick that it's nearly pointless!  Many ships are flat-out stuck, and you can even see the Vermont trying to push the lumbering United States along, to no avail.


In a time of great need, Preble calls upon one of the best American gunships and one of his best colleagues: the Concordia with Captain Montana Mays!  Gus Schultz comes aboard to make the ship Eternal, meaning that both American Eternal crew are now in play. The Concordia is also equipped with a helmsman, shipwright, and oarsman to make her an "Eternal god ship"  (Eternal, can shoot all guns even when dismasted, crew cannot be eliminated, etc). The Concordia is launched right near the battle area to swing things in American's favor.


I know it's probably overkill and overwhelming, but I wanted to take a few extra pictures just to document the immense wreckage caused by these giant battles.

Masts, spars, and sails from various ships litter the battlefield.  Between those and the Bruja herself, the whirlpool is almost completely obscured.


Almost like a scene from illustrations of naval battles in the Age of Sail:

Fire, a ship's worst nightmare, spreads from ship to ship as the horrors of battle reveal themselves to all present.  The Saratoga can hardly move due to the wreckage in her path. The mainmast of the Ballista falls onto the main deck of the Overton, sending crew scurrying below.

Looking down at the carnage:


I count 14 masts in the water just in this closeup alone:


Between that and this, the Sea of Karkuda is starting to turn red with blood.


I didn't have time for a point count today, but I'm still planning to do one soon.  Since it will take some time with so much afloat, I may even just post it as a separate "report".  Thanks for reading!

10/3/2017

Played most of Turn 55 just now.

The Pirates aboard the smaller ships are curious about the Tunnel:


At the other end, the Revenant gets a 6 to emerge from the fog and turn around!  The other Pirate gunships are now nearly caught up.


The damaged Pirates in the Sea of Karkuda suffer an abysmal turn, doing almost no damage to American ships.


After the Lady's Scorn sank due to her fire masts, the opening allowed the Delight to charge forward and ram the President!  Preble's ship was under attack by a third Pirate gunship during this battle. The Delight scored a hit but lost the boarding party.


The Ballista and Jape roll well for their fire masts, but in their weakened state they are unable to keep up an effective rate of fire against their adversaries.


The Paladin is hit again with Fear along with shots from the Centurion, but the Americans will be able to do major damage on their turn.


Returning from the northern part of Karkuda where the American-French battle has begun, the Mystic tells her fellow HI raiders that the French are not a good faction to steal from either.  At this point the Pirates have encountered difficulty trying to raid the Americans, French, and even English to a lesser degree.


No less than 7 Jade ships have been repairing at their HI:


However, between recent launches and some already-healthy ships, the Jades have an 8-ship squadron heading out to counter any potential Cursed invasion:


And indeed, the Cursed are building back up and are hungry for a true victory in this bloody but inconclusive war.


The English HI becomes busy, with a few ships repairing and the Eternally scuttled Ark Royal joining them along with some cargo ships.


The captains of the Lord Kettering and Voz de Dios nearly agreed to a short truce to the hostilities, but negotiations didn't last long!  After a short conversation the English carried on, with the LK continuing to tow the captured Extremadura. The Granville, Resistance, and Orkney teamed up to score 5 hits on the Voz, nearly dismasting her!


The Spanish don't have enough for a great counterattack, but the Corazon del Mar proves surprisingly successful, hitting 3/3 to set the Granville aflame!  At the left, the Cristal will be the first ship to explore Paradise Island since Fortaleza Dorada was destroyed. The island holds the Spanish gold used to build the fort, but it may produce a new resource again too....


The Spanish bring the captured Royal and damaged Armada back to their HI, where the Santa Ana finishes repairing with an EA.  At the right, the newest Spanish warships have sailed out, and it looks like they're heading towards Paradise Island....


The French have a nice turn against the Americans!  At the right, the Delacroix and Bonaparte flee for repairs, with the Hercule and Felicite replacing them.  At the lower left, the Ville de Paris gets an EA to cripple the Grampus, while the Cleveland and Saratoga are hit with firepots.  The Superbe is in an excellent position where she can shoot through friendly ships to hit hostile ships beyond. So far, the large French capital ships have plugged and held the gap, not allowing for American ships to reach the fort or advance their long supply chain of ships.  At the bottom, the Solitaire and Crete Argentee have arrived, so next turn their bonuses should really help the French stay accurate.


The Dauphin Royal has extinguished her fire mast and reversed direction, while just above her you can see a major development: the Royal Louis was given an EA from Deleflote to unload the French fort upgrade at Paradis de la Mer!


Tomorrow I hope to finish this turn with the Americans and finish all of Turn 56!

10/4/2017

Due to a surprise resource change and some real-life logistics, I wasn't able to finish all of Turn 56.  However, what did happen was pretty interesting.

Previously shrouded in fog, the Americans and French didn't even realize that their battle nearly bumped up against some huge unknown structure south of The Flat!!  O_O




The Carolina and Jackson dock at the northwest end of The Flat that had been explored by the Peacock, and unload 6 army units!!  The War for The Flat is on! This could be the first time in this game where we see true land warfare, though ships can easily pick them off.


The Seattle hits 3/5 to smash the Felicite, while the Yankee and Franklin team up to set the Hercule aflame.


A rather poor American turn on this side.  The ships south and west of The Flat cannot break the French line and are stuck behind each other.


However, the Americans cripple the Pirates in the southwest, and have all but won that battle!  The Springfield's ability came in quite handy, allowing the Minuteman flotilla to hit all 4 times against the Thirty Tyrants (at the far left).  


The Delight is dismasted, and the Americans capture no less than 4 ships on the turn!  The Ballista, Bruja, Jape, and Centurion will join the American fleet if they are not scuttled.


USS Appalachian reaches the whirlpool amid incredible amounts of wreckage:


Looking up at the mass of ships beyond, though the battle has become quieter and less chaotic as Pirate ships strike their colors.


Various derelicts float about in the devastation, while at the top, the Concordia cannot even move away from the HI due to the busiest scene of the game so far.  (and the RV Saratoga could hardly tow the Ballista, who is at a weird angle facing the President in this picture)


I rolled another one at the beginning of Turn 56, which meant a random resource change would occur!  I rolled a 2 after, which meant the change would only affect this one turn. Then, I rolled another 2, which was the first time a 2 was rolled for resource values!!  Suddenly lumber was worth 6 gold apiece, luxuries 5, and finally, spices were in the top half of values at 4 apiece! This benefited the Cursed, French, and Americans the most with their luxury stockpiles, which is part of the reason I couldn't finish the turn.


The Pirates come around the huge fog banks surrounding the Tunnel and discover the Jade Rebellion!!  O_O


Words and not shots are exchanged!!  Calico Cat has a shouted conversation with the captain of the Wiglaf, who hates the Cursed lol.  The captain tells Calico Cat that the Cursed are a horrible menace of unspeakable power and hatred, and that the Jades would like an ally with which to combat them.  Calico responds that the Pirates are merely humble explorers (lol, not that the Jades bought that, as the Pirate squadron contains 3 of their best gunships XD) and will not be able to assist anyone in war efforts.  The captain of the Wiglaf is disappointed to hear this, and will pass it on to his superiors in the rapidly approaching Grand Temple. However, the Jades are hell-bent on eliminating the Cursed presence from the Sea of Allost, and between recent launches and repairs, think they will be able to do that before too long.


The Pirates had just gotten word of the Cursed, but in the meantime they also had a first-hand experience with them!  The captain of the Golden Medusa had been growing bored for quite some time with whirlpool patrol, and after being egged on by his Pirate comrades on the HI-raiding ships, decided to have a look west of the whirlpool.  The Pirates quickly sighted a strange vessel anchored off an island, and lo and behold it was the Cursed!! The Soul Crusher has been guarding that island for quite a while now. Wraith quickly started gesturing at the Golden Medusa, hissing like mad!  Not understanding a "word" of it, the captain of the Golden Medusa deduced that all of his crewmen would be killed if they went further or tried to find out what was on the island. His intuition was correct! XD


Now you can finally understand the general layout in the Sea of Allost, but to think that is the end of developments there would be VERY wrong... hhehe.

At the end of their turn, the Pirates spend 32 gold on what I think is a potentially clever combo with Jonah.  Usually I just put Blackbeard and a helmsman on Blackbeard's linked ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR), since that maxes out the ship's point limit but still leaves room for gold.  However, with so many points available and a great resource system already in play, the Pirates went overboard and used Jonah to bring aboard Sean Cannonball Gallows and Lady Baptiste to give the QAR EA with reroll abilities.  This could make the ship quite dangerous and capable of nabbing more than one crew in a turn.


The QAR was launched at Dead Man's Point, where three Pirate ships repair from their awful trip to the Sea of Karkuda.  The nice blue hull of the Lady's Scorn is visible at the top, nearly blending into the ocean. At the left, the Gruesome looks to join the HI raider ships anchored off the whirlpool.


Bartholomew Roberts enters the Tunnel!  In addition, the Deliverance has finished repairing, which means that the Pirate whirlpool squadron is ready to go again!  However, Havana Black might be "hungry" for more oarsmen, in which case he might leave the squadron to go home first. In between those two developments you can see the considerable Pirate defense squadron, which now consists of 11 2 masted gunships and two flotillas.


The Jades are gearing up for yet another battle with the Cursed!  With Calico Cat not offering Pirate help, the Vikings on the outside line have dismissed the Pirates to a degree, ignoring them in favor of fleet maneuvers.  The Jade squadron will only grow stronger as more and more ships finish repairing.


But the Cursed grow stronger as well!  They cash in less than half of their luxuries for 80 gold, which nets them the Juggernaut, Whydah, Strix, and Fiddler's Green (with F&S L-mover Tabitha McWarren aboard).  


Back in the Caribbean, the Lord Algernon fires somewhat of a cheap shot at the Voz de Dios, setting her alight and dooming the Spaniard.  The Orkney begins towing the dismasted Corazon del Mar, while the repaired Durham is returning to the war effort. At the bottom you can also see the hull of the Extremadura, a ship the English are lucky to bring back home.


But in a big surprise move, the Spanish open up another theater of the war!!  Attacking the much-diminished English presence southwest of Diamond Rock, the newest Spanish warships veer to starboard and open fire!  The Serpiente hits 2/2 to take a mast off the Burma. The Ebro only hit 1/4, but the Acorazado bailed out her fleetmate by going 3/5 (with double shot, the last cannon wasn't in range) to damage the Duke of York.


With the Santa Catalina, Profeta, Asesino, and Habana all coming over from the HI to help, the Spanish suddenly have a pretty solid presence where the First Battle of Diamond Rock took place.  The English were caught unawares, and although they have two more gunships and the Tower flotilla nearby, look to be at a disadvantage.


Up north, the First Battle of Paradise Island is pretty much completely over.  It was inconclusive but with notable losses and victories on both sides. Similar to the JR-Cursed war, this war is beginning to resemble two factions beating the carp out of each other with little gains.  XD The Cristal del Obispo explored the island, finding textiles! The Granada is still stuck, while the Santa Ana has returned to the scene as the Spanish don't want to lose control of the island despite starting a new battle off to the south.  The Spanish hope to distract the English and win a battle near Diamond Rock, simultaneously weakening English control of the central area of the Caribbean and buying time to get another fort on Paradise Island. It seems like a good strategy, between the English being battle-weary and not getting great returns on their spices for at least a few more turns.  (worth 4 on this turn but the English want to wait until they're worth 5 or 6 to cash in)


Back in the Sea of Karkuda, you can just see the tail ends of the Mobilis and Devil Ray entering the sub hideout!


This is what it looks like once they've surfaced inside, but the Mercs will have to wait at least one turn to cash in their new resources since food and textiles crashed with the random change.


That is all for now!  With luxuries becoming valuable, the French and Americans will both have a LOT of stuff to do on their turns, between the large battles, various logistics, and definitely some launches.  I hope to play out those mammoth turns tomorrow! The point count has obviously been delayed even further, but it will be coming eventually haha.

10/5/2017

Here are the American and French turns of Turn 56.

The French utterly dominate the Americans at The Flat!  


The Cleveland, Saratoga, and Delaware are finished, while the Minuteman has one mast left but is burning.  The Dauphin Royal got an AA from Gaston to shoot twice, using Lenoir to cancel the L-immunity of the Jarvis.


Paradis was very ineffective, but one shot hit to take out an American infantry unit, the first land-to-land combat of this game.  The Hercule and Bonaparte join the Delacroix in extinguishing their flames at the fort, with the Hercule also dismasting the Seattle.


From the previous pictures you may have noticed a few new ships at The Flat!  That's right, the French were saving gold in order to launch from their newly upgraded fort!  However, between the battle, the Americans having staked out the northern end of the island, and the handful of ships docking at The Flat for repairs, they only had room to launch two ships there this first time.  However, those two ships are two more French capital ships - the 5 masters Neptune and Monaque.

Now we see the extent of the French spending spree - they didn't come close to spending all of their gold, but they still spent a bunch!  The Aube, Tepant, Epee, Orient, Aquilon, Cleopatre, Heros and Atalante come into play, all with fighting crew aboard.


Here is most of the French deckplate area, with new launches joining the other existing ships.


Cleaning up their victory, the Americans deal damage to the remaining Pirate ships near their HI, which at this point are only the Ranger, Thirty Tyrants, and Rickets.  Much towing and awkward turning logistics ensue.


Definitely one of the most wreckage-filled battles I've had in a game of Pirates CSG.  In many spots there are simply masts on top of masts, so it's like a dense layer of wreckage, with ships sailing over it with some difficulty.  O_O


The Americans retreat, and the French have won the Second Fight at The Flat!!  This may seem premature and even lame from a reader's point of view, but there were various reasons behind the decision.  First off, the French still don't want war with the Americans, and were not the ones to initiate this conflict. The French senior officers talked down to the American captains on the attacking ships, telling them that not only have they launched two brand-new powerful warships at The Flat, but they have more on the way very soon.  The French then threatened to spend even more gold next turn on more new ships, as they still have 204 gold! Compounding matters further, the host of American ships have been absolutely stopped by the French line, with not a single French 5 master dismasted or sunk thus far and various American ships dismasted or fleeing with 1 mast standing.  The Turn 50 megalaunches saw the Americans purchase more ships, but the French got the best of their best, with various top-of-the-line 5 masters defending The Flat and some (like the Charlemagne) not even getting in action yet. Notice the troop transports loading up the army units, taking them off The Flat.


And thus, the Truce of The Flat is now in effect!  Indeed, this is the first official truce or treaty in this game, and a concept that has been underutilized by me in my past campaign games.  This is not a full peace treaty, but a truce that the Americans and French agreed to. The terms dictate that the Americans can retreat from the area in peace if the derelict American ships strike their colors.  The Americans considered this a fine deal, as their long-term plans have been severely hampered by the French and they will have to re-evaluate their strategy going forward.

The Americans retreat west, but they are already formulating grand plans for the future, though that future is more distant than they hoped or anticipated it to be.  Various possibilities exist: with two powerful foes (Pirates and French), the Americans may look for an ally to aid in their war efforts. Since the Americans know their way around the whirlpools pretty well at this point, reaching out to other factions is a possibility, though the Americans assume the Spanish are as weak as they were earlier in the game and they don't have any idea about the Jades and Cursed.  In addition, with a possible peace with France suddenly materializing, the Americans may be able to throw their full might against the Pirates. An extended whirlpool trip could be costly, but with two large-scale battles just recently going on simultaneously, the Americans have shown the financial power needed for such an endeavor.


With the battle against the French over, a few healthy gunships try to find a shortcut home, going along the side of the large structure that will be officially revealed when it is fully explored.


From the mainmast of USS Mercury:


The Americans spend big as well!  In fact, they cash in ALL of their luxuries and combine it with some gold and cashed in lumber to spend a whopping 228 gold!  A full dozen ships are purchased, among them the Congress and Concord, which are relaunched in the same round that the French traded them in.  There is a thing happening: The Mobilization of the American Navy. Preble coined the phrase after learning of the Truce of The Flat, and it represents a period of change for the Americans.    They have won their first battle, a serious effort against the Pirates. However, the French are far stronger and defensive than they anticipated, leading to a major loss that would likely be far worse if not for the sudden truce and retreat.  At this point, the Americans need to repair, regroup, and mobilize. Many plans are being considered in addition to the possibilities above.

Clearly I'm going a little overboard with the thematics with the Americans in this game, possibly since they go last in the turn order and therefore usually last in the reports.  However, I think it's fun to give a full insight into the mind of one of the factions, as the reader doesn't know all the strategies being considered by the other factions. That's not to say that each faction has strategic thinking as deep as the Americans lately - for example, the Jades and Cursed have been in pure war mode for a while and are simply concerned with eliminating the other.  However, it's fun to give you the full breakdown for at least one of the factions' thoughts, and hopefully I can expand on more of the others.

The super-accurate Blackwatch highlights the additions, while that ship, the Paul Revere, and the Julius Caesar are some of my favorite American ships.


With that, I look forward to some amount of action tomorrow, and a point count within the next 2 or 3 days.  However, Saturday-Tuesday will see considerably less action so I will likely just play "faction turns" when I'm able to on those days.  Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment!

10/6/2017

Turn 57!  The day's action begins with Pirate activities at the Tunnel, where Mission is returning to Pirate waters.  Bartholomew Roberts is exploring the Tunnel, amazed at both the height and length of it.


With a VERY rare shot looking from north to south in the Sea of Allost, here is a view of the Golden Medusa checking out the outside north wall of the huge Tunnel.


The Pirate whirlpool squadron emerges back in the Sea of Karkuda!  After repairing from their sneak attack on the English in the Caribbean, the squadron has headed back to Karkuda after getting wind of the American/French "dispute"  XD. The Feathered Hat, generally the flagship of the squadron when Havana Black and the Deliverance aren't around, was given an AA to approach the French ships near The Flat.  The other ships of the squadron followed the FH through when the FH didn't return to Pirate waters, as she would have if the situation didn't look good. The captain of the Feathered Hat speaks with various Frenchmen, including Michael Bordeaux and Guy LaPlante.  Finding a commonality in their anti-American sentiments, the Pirates and French agree to an alliance!!


Spending time for the Jades!  They buy some very expensive and very fragile firepower, since they're running out of ships to purchase.  Many of the Viking 1 masters are launched, along with the Donar and Sea Crane. At this point I have even run out of the paper crew chips for new players, so I've been writing "C 3" (for captains) and whatnot on index cards which are then cut into little bits so I can fit as many deckplates in the deckplate areas as possible.


The VERY busy Jade HI, which is also looking like a fortress due to their slow but steady accumulation of army units.


The large and powerful JR squadron on patrol duty has set a clear boundary against the Cursed.


The Cursed answer with launches of their own!  The first kraken is now in play: Terrox is here!  


The Executioner and Poor Adams are two more additions, while the Jikininki has finished repairing.  The Demon Gate and Sea Rat are also launched.


After the surprise Spanish attack to open the Second Battle of Diamond Rock, the English strike back with very accurate gunnery!  The Tower flotilla and the Burma do most of the damage, as the Ebro and Acorazado lose two masts each.


But the Spanish have a numerical advantage in that area right now!  The Santa Catalina, Profeta, Asesino, and Habana enter the fray to back up their fleetmates!  However, their shooting percentage is far lower than the English on this turn, though the sheer number of shots taken mean that the Burma and Duke of York lose additional masts.


Similar to the English at the First Battle of Paradise Island, the Spanish break the English "line" to advance their squadron.  However, the farther the Spanish advance, the more English ships they will encounter, not to mention the cannons on the shore of Diamond Rock's only beach.


With the resources going back to normal and food and textiles becoming valuable again, the Mercenaries are able to cash in!!  They spend all 38 gold from their first haul and launch the first 10 master of the game!!

The Celtic Fury is here!!


You may have noticed those giant guns protruding from the bow of the CF.  They are extra bombardier cannon pieces that I can use as a physical representation of Bow Chasers, a custom equipment of mine partially inspired by PotC.

Bow Chasers

Faction Affiliation: Neutral
Type: Equipment
Point Value: 5

This ship gains two additional cannons that can only shoot from the foremost mast of the ship. The cannons have 4L rank/range and the Extended Range keyword. The cannons can only fire in a straight line directly forward of the ship's bow. Other pieces of equipment cannot be used with Bow Chasers, and Bow Chasers cannot have their range or rank improved.

Especially when viewed from deck or land level, the Celtic Fury suddenly becomes the most imposing ship on the seas:


Nemo's Mercenary Submarine Hideout can only accommodate submarines, but the Mercenaries can still launch ships S away from the hideout.  I'm inclined to allow their sailing ships to dock at the hideout, but for now they can only unload resources and gold when they surface inside the hideout.




Check out the crew setup on the CF.  Ms. O'Brien has left the Mobilis to command the largest ship currently in play.  The Bow Chasers and the crew fill out the 13 points the Mercs spent.


And so this begins an interesting period of international Mercenary relations.  That is clear....

Continuing the theme of major launches (the third faction in the turn to spend 100+ gold), the French spend ALL of their 246 gold to get a dozen new ships!!  Those three ships at the top are currently troop transports, while the Conquerant represents a slight change of policy for France in this game. As they cement their (very) strong position in the Sea of Karkuda and gold continues to flow in from their various islands, the French are able to experiment a little bit.  The first "flamethrower" of the game shows up with some hesitancy and anticipation.


O_O  Whoa... intrigued by Nemo's desertion and change of heart, Gaston himself pays the Mercenaries a visit!  However, the French go after the Mercenaries, so the Bourbon is blocked from seeing the submerged Nautilus by the giant new junk!  O'Brien and Gaston have a very amicable conversation, with O'Brien following orders from Nemo to lie about Nemo's true intentions. O'Brien tells Gaston that Nemo is doing all of this in the employ of France, and that the Celtic Fury will be joining the French fleet defending The Flat!  Gaston eats it up, and everything is going according to plan for Nemo. He glimpsed the Bourbon on the horizon last turn, and the resources changing back was the perfect time to get a pro-France ally out there to talk up Gaston. O'Brien has long been the favorite Mercenary of France, serving them well over the years.  She also speaks fluent French, something most other Mercs struggle mightily with. After the pleasant conversation, Gaston heads back to his cabin, impressed with Nemo's direction. Nemo is playing things perfectly, using O'Brien to delay French knowledge of the Mercenaries being their own independent faction.


Nearly the entire French situation:


The ships launched last turn are barely getting out of the Harbor when another batch of new ships arrives!  At the left, notice the Westminster has entered the Harbor! The French have agreed to help the English a little: the Westminster can use the French Harbor to repair, but no alliance has been agreed to.  At the right, the Conquerant is using the "flamestrike" cannon but I think I'll leave the flame part off when it's not being used, to make things more realistic and make it easier to move the ship around.


The Americans continue to explore the structure they recently found!  


The Brandywine uses her ability and an AA from Preble to look at the entire south side of the structure!




Introducing: The Castle!


Hidden on all sides by a variety of reefs, fog, and sargasso seas, the Castle is an abandoned castle built long ago in the Sea of Karkuda.  The enormous structure has been decaying for quite some time, but it could make a decent location for a faction if they were inclined to restore it to its former glory....


The next three pictures show the massive American fleet in sections.

The Americans have disabled the last of the Pirate ships in the southwest corner of Karkuda, officially sealing their commanding victory!


The first Pirate captures have been docked at the home island, while some new American ships head out, sailing northeast.


Here you can see 5 American ships heading home for repairs after the Second Fight at The Flat.  At the top, a few gunships and the 4 troop transports have been laid up "in reserve" west of The Flat.  They are guarding against French intrusion in addition to awaiting further orders. With a huge fleet and very complex logistics, in addition to some newfound uncertainty as to their long-term strategy, there are some American captains that don't know what to do right now.


O_O  With the Castle officially revealed at last, you can finally see nearly ALL of the Sea of Karkuda!!  Here you can really get an idea of just how MASSIVE my custom stuff is. The Harbor is so large that it utterly dominates the entire northeast quadrant of this ocean, which is about 5 feet by 3 feet.  The Castle has been an obstacle to my picture-taking until now, and you can notice how I purposely left any clip of it out of pictures near The Flat. I also didn't want the sub hideout so close to the other stuff, but I couldn't realistically have a bigger ocean.  In addition, you can see just how crowded Karkuda has become, with GIANT French and American fleets being joined by Pirates and Mercenaries of late. Formerly a mostly dormant ocean when the Sea of Allost had the majority of the points in play and when we witnessed the First Battle of Diamond Rock, the Sea of Karkuda is now incredibly busy and HOT!  XD


The most epic and shocking point count of all time

After anticipating a major ship and point count since the big launches on Turn 50, the time has finally come!!  It took a little over a full hour just to tally up all the points and ships in play. As with the previous counts, only deckplate areas were considered for this.  Forts, army units, and existing caches of gold are not counted at all.

Without further ado, here are the numbers.

10/6/2017 point and ship count as of the end of Turn 57:

Pirates: 64 ships, 1,052 points
Jade Rebellion: 34 ships, 650 points
Cursed: 45 ships, 802 points
English: 34 ships, 518 points
Spanish: 21 ships, 317 points
Mercenaries: 4 ships, 100 points
French: 63 ships, 1,133 points
Americans: 77 ships, 1,361 points

Total: 342 ships, 5,933 points

O_O

Unsurprising at this point, but Command the Oceans has officially become the biggest game in the history of Pirates CSG!!!!

In much more shocking news, this game has completely obliterated any and ALL point and ship records in any Pirates CSG game you can imagine.  It is almost incomprehensible to think about. Most people only play games with a total of 80, or 120, or 200. This game is about to exceed SIX THOUSAND TOTAL POINTS.  O_O After it reached around 4,600 after Turn 50, I realized that it would not only be the first game to reach the 4,000 point level, but also the first ever to hit 5,000 points!  However, things have kept ballooning to the point of total insanity, with 6,000 points within reach less than 10 turns later. O_O Just for reference, the previous record for a game was 3,516 total points for VASSAL Campaign Game 1.  This game has exceeded that game by nearly an additional 2,500 points, which by itself would make a HUGE game!! Finally, the record for a physical game was 2,846 total points for Economy Edition. That record has now been more than doubled.  O_O In the past, my biggest games have sometimes featured the winning fleet peaking at over 1,000 points. In this game, there are THREE fleets at 1,000+ points, with no end in sight!!

I will admit that a handful of factors have contributed to the astronomical point total.  First off, three oceans is quite a lot, and it means I have more square footage on which to play than any other CG I've played outside of the 2011 cumulative game, where I used my whole room in a setting I would not repeat today.  Secondly, the mast elimination and sinking house rules have resulted in many less sunken ships than EE or CG1. Finally, there has still not been extremely long and drawn-out combat between two factions outside of the Jades and Cursed, who do have lower ship and point totals as a result of that war.

More stats and figures:
Points per ship:
Pirates: 16.4 points/ship
Jade Rebellion: 19.1
Cursed: 17.8
English: 15.2
Spanish: 15.1
Mercenaries: 25 (Celtic Fury is one of four Merc ships XD)
French: 18
Americans: 17.7
Overall: 17.35 points/ship (almost the same as my 17.46 number from EE's near-peak, so this is a very good gauge for CG's)

Here you can see the difference between a fleet of 6 masted junks and Viking longships, two of the most expensive ship types in the game, as the JR fleet has the same number of ships as the English but 132 more points.

By ocean: (with some give or take necessary due to whirlpool traveling)
Sea of Allost: 143 ships, 2,504 points
Caribbean: 55 ships, 835 points
Sea of Karkuda: 144 ships, 2,594 points
-Almost the same numbers in Allost and Karkuda!

Percentage of points in play:
Pirates: 17.7% (1,052/5,933)
JR: 10.9%
Cursed: 13.5%
English: 8.7%
Spanish: 5.3%
French: 19.1%
Americans: 22.9%

From that you can see that if the Pirate/French alliance is very fruitful, they could combine to control around 37% of the total points in play... however, the current strongest faction is at war with both of them haha.  You can also crunch the numbers various ways in an attempt to come up with a majority alliance....

Now for an extended look at the considerable area in the two rooms that I have dedicated to deckplate areas.  

With three columns for the Pirates and Cursed, this is the main deckplate area for the Sea of Allost.  However, the Pirates have grown out of this area and have spilled over into the other room, with the Cursed threatening to do the same soon.


Wall of text?  How about a wall of deckplates and crew!  XD

At the upper right, Wraith has been repossessing crew for a while now aboard the Soul Crusher.

A few more Pirate deckplates left of their main area, also previewing the JR area...


... which are partially under the Caribbean table.


The rest of the JR section, which are pretty difficult to get to at this point.


The English and the Spanish are near the Caribbean:


The small primary Spanish area is next to the coin tin and the resources bag.


But similar to the other factions, the Spanish have now spilled over into a new area underneath the Caribbean.  (underwater lol)


Here we see extra Pirate and English stuff (their more recent launches) along with the new Mercenary faction.


Here is the huge French area, which is basically full at this point.  This is the same area where the huge Franco-Spanish fleet from Economy Edition was.


Finally, the Americans with the biggest fleet of them all.  Note that without the 7 recently captured Pirate ships, the Pirates would have a narrow lead in ships at 71-70.  Alas, with a decisive American victory the Americans have the largest fleet.


I also started Turn 58 with the Pirates!

Another random resource change!  For this turn only, metals would be the most valuable resource, with the fish market crashing temporarily.


Using an EA from Calico Cat to travel through most of the Tunnel, the Revenant approaches Pirate waters.  The Silver Dagger is given an AA to get close to the Revenant, and an exchange will take place next turn.


The Pirates buy another ladder in order to give two oarsmen to the Deliverance.  Havana Black has restocked his supply of sacrificial crew.


The Pirates spent 95 total gold on their turn, launching 5 additional gunships.


With 88 additional points of ships and crew in play, this game reaches 6,021 total points!!!  O_O

10/9/2017

Two faction turns were played today.

This shows the entire Jade fleet, with their battle squadron becoming stronger by the turn.


The JR wild island had run out of resources briefly, but then began producing food again!  This marked the second time the island has had food, which was the main source of Jade wealth in the early part of the game.


The Cursed fleet, with more cargo ships than ever running resources to support the war effort against the Jades.


Looking up at the imposing Roost and the giant dragon:


Shal-Bala is ready to take flight again!!


But this won't be a raid!  It will be a reconnaissance flyover!


Here you "become the dragon" and get Shal-Bala's view of things.  A treat indeed! XD The beast flies higher and higher above the sea....


Shal-Bala picks up speed and heads east!


Flying over the Tunnel!


Those two "moving shots" were fun to get, but here's a more static shot of the top of the Tunnel!  At first glance it looks to be somewhat barren but covered with some grass and rocks. Also, both ends and both sides of the Tunnel's top are different than the other.


Shal-Bala flies all the way over to Mission's Pirate Kingdom!  This gives the Cursed full knowledge of the piratical activities being carried out!  XD However, the Pirates spot the dragon flying above! At this point the Pirates are aware of the Cursed beast, and certainly assume the Cursed are a powerful faction as a result.


The experiments have been completed, and Devereaux has succeeded!!!  Originally a French privateer, Devereaux has lost his sanity to his obsession with finding the Dragon's Eye, a gem that legend says grants the owner immortality.  Devereaux found his great obsession, the Eye of the Dragon. It's power was everything he hoped it was - and more: Its power condemned him to a living death under its control.  But not only that, it inspired him to combine two amazing UT's into one bizarre and hideous creation!!


THE EYE!!!!


O_O


After finding both the Eye of Insanity (considered to be the same as the Eye of the Dragon for this game) and the Cursed Conch early in the game, Devereaux left his ship (the Boneyard at the time) to focus his efforts on some "experiments".  After MANY turns (almost the whole game so far lol), he finally succeeded in planting the Eye inside the Cursed Conch! The freakish creation has resulted in a Cursed gimmick that could alter how they play the game.

Rules for The Eye: The Cursed can use the Eye on their turns to see anything and everything on ALL oceans.

O_O

I know there are some parallels between this and the Eye of Sauron, but between the Cursed finding those two UT's on the northern island that used to produce gold and Devereaux's flavor text, it was too good to pass up.  It is an "all-knowing" or omniscient Eye that can see everyone at all times! O_O

With that, here we go!  Since you can see what the factions see and the Cursed now have the Eye, the entirety of all three oceans will finally be revealed!

The Sea of Allost:


The Caribbean, looking from southeast to northwest:


Looking from southwest to northeast:


The Sea of Karkuda:

I did still leave something out of the picture to the southeast... it's not a big deal and nothing to get super excited about, but it seems like there should be at least one more "reveal" when the stuff there is found.

With that, I move to the Caribbean next, and hope to play more Wednesday-Friday this week than I did these past few days.

10/10/2017

Finished up Turn 58 and started Turn 59.

The game is about as peaceful as it's been for quite some time, but not in the Caribbean!  The English strike back hard against the Spanish, getting some quality shots in with firepots from the Guy Fawkes and Durham setting the Ebro and Santa Catalina ablaze.  The Duke of York and Burma are trying to leave the battlefield to repair at home, while the Meresman, Platagenet and Metal Dragon are coming up from the south to replace them.  So far the accuracy of the English cannons has negated the Spanish numbers advantage, which is dwindling as a result.


Back at the English HI, many repairs are being carried out.  The Resolution, Ark Royal, Lord Kettering and Extremadura are all being operated on.  The Granville, Resistance, and Corazon del Mar will join them shortly. The Wycliffe has finished repairing and speeds out to assist in the war effort against Spain.


The Spanish take their turn in the combat zone, doing solid damage.  The Ebro burns to a crisp, and the Santa Catalina will next turn since she rolled poorly for her fire.  However, the Burma and King John are dismasted, with the KJ losing both her crew to the Asesino's cargo-wrecking ability.  The Serpiente hits 2/2 to down the mainmast of the Guy Fawkes.


A view from above showing the slow but steady Spanish advance.  The battle isn't as loud or crowded as the First Battle of Diamond Rock, but the engagement is important to keep Spanish morale high after their (debatable) victory at Paradise Island not long ago.


Cashing in textiles, the Spanish launch one of their best ships, the Santo Columba!  This ship was my original Spanish flagship, as it was the largest Spanish ship I owned in my original collection of 49 ships "back in the day".  She is well-equipped for war and will likely sail straight to the ongoing battle.


Just like the Santa Ana, the ship is bristling with a powerful broadside.  You can see the fine layer of dust just forward of the mainmast - this ship has been in a LOT of battles over the years!  


On the Merc turn the Celtic Fury moved west.  The French had an easy turn without combat or launches, but it still took me almost 15 minutes to move all of their 60+ ships.  The Conquerant succeeded at her first EA roll to move towards the front of the pack. Remember that the French launched considerable amounts of firepower the last two turns and now it is departing from the Harbor.  


The French discover the Castle!!  This occurred when the fog bank the Ville de Paris was in lifted as the ship rolled to come out of the fog right into the outer wall of the castle!  The ship's durability prevented the loss of any masts.


Similar but less complicated than the American situation in the southwest, the French face a towing and repairing dilemma at The Flat.  The Dauphin Royal goes to the other end to repair, with the Superbe guarding her against any American foolishness. Other ships dock or attempt to dock at the southern end of the island.  The Seattle is captured now that the Hercule has been repaired.


With the biggest fleet in the game almost entirely confined to the western 1/3 of Karkuda following that line of reefs, the Americans continue to face logistical difficulties.  At the scene of their battle they are towing derelicts and captures around to get them home. More damaged ships have begun arriving from the fight at The Flat. Preble has finally set sail again, and for now he is guarding the whirlpool with the help of a flotilla.  His long-term plans have been put on hold by the big battles and the logistics of the cleanup effort. At the far right, the Brandywine and other ships continue to scout the Castle.


Turn 59 begins with the Pirate whirlpool squadron advancing!  With an alliance with the French secured, the Pirates now feel confident about exploring the Sea of Karkuda.  The Sunrise Fire uses her ability to explore The Flat, where the Madagascar and Otter may dock next turn to load textiles.


The French inform the captain of the Feathered Hat about their Mercenary ties, a faction the Pirates didn't previously know about.  The FH sails south to greet O'Brien on the Celtic Fury.


Potential problems for the English in the Caribbean!  Blackbeard is here! Returning to one of his old real-life stomping grounds, the feared pirate arrives in the Caribbean.


Using Lady Baptiste's reroll for Sean Gallows' EA, the Queen Anne's Revenge rams HMS Apollo!  Shots are fired into the hull of the poor English ship, with two finding their mark to fell a mast.  Blackbeard commands a boarding party and wins to capture the English captain!!


Back to the Sea of Allost!

The transfer is complete!!  The Silver Dagger gave a ladder to the Revenant, and Calico Cat used an EA to hoist it up high in the air from the mainmast!  The Pirates are experimenting with the Tunnel, trying to reach the ceiling of it with ladders. Now it becomes obvious why the Silver Dagger was launched with 3 ladders aboard: Mission intends to carry out some operations at the Tunnel.  The Revenant was chosen since her mainmast reaches higher in the air than the masts of smaller ships like the Silver Dagger and Mission's own Crusher. However, the height is still not enough to reach the ceiling of the Tunnel.


The Silver Dagger tries the same thing with one of her ladders.  Men clamber up to the top, but are unable to do anything with the steep and curved sides of the Tunnel.  It may be possible to hang from the top if a hook is affixed to the ceiling in the middle, but the curved sides leading there are too difficult to use, while the men on the ladder from the Revenant cannot reach the wide ceiling part.  Much to the Pirates' dismay, it seems that neither option will work.


Bartholomew Roberts and Captain Mission watch from their shorter ships as Calico Cat and Griffin aboard the Revenant become frustrated.


Here you can see that it really is a high Tunnel, with the height exceeding the height of two main masts of a 5 master stacked on top of each other.




Long shadows in the Tunnel, where the Pirates have been stopped by nature:


The Pirates don't know it yet, but thanks to Shal-Bala and the Eye, we know what lies above!  XD


The Pirates continue to get metals from Pistol Island, with their southern whirlpool looking as deserted as ever.  The Deliverance may join back up with the whirlpool squadron now that Havana Black has replenished his stores of sacrificial oarsmen.


Up north, Captain Villanueva was puzzled why the Pirates hadn't explored the Sultan shipwreck near the other whirlpool.  Taking his ship over the reef, he quickly discovers why, with the Rum Runner losing a mast. The 5 Pirate gunships launched last turn will join the HI raiders at the whirlpool where they await further orders.  The Pirates are considering another assault on the Americans, but they are understandably nervous that it will go as badly as the last attack. In addition, the Feathered Hat was going to come back through a whirlpool to inform the Pirates at home of the new alliance with the French, but the FH's captain is off to meet O'Brien instead.  With no ships from the whirlpool squadron returning yet, Mission himself and the other Pirates in the Sea of Allost are unaware of the alliance, which could prove very helpful if the Pirates combine a squadron with the French ships near The Flat, or coordinate a pincer strike from both Karkuda whirlpools.

The Pirates also launch three ships from Dead Man's Point: the Kirbac and Venture are cheap gunships for home defense, while the Revenge will be the first ship to load lumber from that island!  The Revenge is a nice option for cheap firepower as well, but with three cargo spaces open with a helmsman aboard, the Pirates are looking to use her ability (move S after unloading cargo) to help in their resource efforts.  That ability will allow the ship to get a bit of a jump back out of the kingdom, which may help to not clog the entrances as much.


The Jades and Cursed had uneventful turns, with both sides continuing to wait and wait until their next battle erupts.  However, although the Jades still have "tunnel vision" (pun intended) on the Cursed, the Cursed are now more indecisive and hesitant than ever.  Seeing everything in play with the Eye has led them to become scattered in their thoughts, as they have so many more options. With three factions currently larger than them (Pirates, Americans, French), the Cursed are worried that continual war with the Jade Rebellion will wear away and diminish any chance of them winning the game overall.  It does appear that some Cursed gunships are headed east around the fog banks instead of gathering at the entrance to the Roost. At the far right, the Sea Crane and Naegling are in fog banks due to Tsuro and Tabby (McWarren), as the Cursed L-movers have been pretty effective the last few turns. Unfortunately for the Cursed there aren't many reefs nearby to toss ships onto.  Also, somehow I haven't even mentioned this yet, but I'm using the version of flat earth where ships cannot be moved off the ocean and removed from play. This is partly because thematically there is "more out there" beyond the boundaries (recall the Jades and Americans arriving in the oceans rather than starting at a HI), and because with so many HI's right next to the edges, I don't want the Cursed to have another advantage by moving newly launched ships straight out of play.  Plus the Cursed already have house rules working in their favor, and now they have the Eye as well.


The Jades launched the Yggdrasil at the end of their turn and the Cursed cashed in a few textiles to complete the crew complement of the Executioner.

Things are a bit dormant right now, but who knows what will happen next?  Stay tuned!

10/11/2017

Finished up Turn 59.

The Second Battle of Diamond Rock in the Caribbean, showing an effective English turn:


Both the Serpiente and Asesino de la Nave were set on fire, while the Profeta was dismasted.


Off to the right, the Burma has been chain towed out of the area by a trio of English ships, while the Duke of York heads home for repairs.


At last, the Lord Algernon and Orkney have docked home the towed ships.


A truce has been agreed to!!  It is a lengthy 10 turn truce, with neither side firing at opposing ships for 10 turns total.  This happened after some negotiations between the English and Spanish. Both sides are utterly exhausted by the war effort, and both have seen many gunships sunk or captured.  They are on the verge of losing points in their fleet instead of gaining them long-term with how things have been going. Both fleets are also among the weakest in the game right now (in fact they are the two smallest by point count of the starting factions), and although they don't know that, they do know that continual warfare will likely result in neither of them winning much of anything.  In addition, the goal of commanding Diamond Rock has seemed overly ambitious and not even that beneficial to the Spanish, who have been doing alright running gold and resources from Paradise Island. Meanwhile, the English vastly underestimated the Spanish and find it hard to believe the Spaniards nearly won a battle and have put up a great fight in the latest one. The English are eager to retire, though here it was the Spanish who opened the negotiations as they likely would have lost the battle if they had continued fighting.


The French sail out of their Harbor in force!


Preble gives his AA to the USS Mercury, who explores the Castle for the first time!!  However, exploring the Castle and what it has to offer fully may take a few turns, similar to Diamond Rock.  At the right, the Brandywine continues to scout the eastern side of the Castle, nearly glimpsing the Celtic Fury through the fog.


The huge American fleet continues to operate, though with less defined objectives than they've had for around 20+ turns now.  They finally moved their artillery unit on the lumber island to the east, and it points directly at The Flat. Just west of that island, notice the American troop transports rounding the island and beginning to head south.  At the bottom, a small "super squadron" heads northeast, led by the Blackwatch and Concordia. At the left, a full half-dozen American gunships simply wait out the logjam and await further orders. Those ships are simply getting out of the way at this point - the Americans have so many ships that they don't know what to do with them all!  However, with declarations of war against the other two strongest factions in the game (Pirates and French), they will surely need them eventually.


The United States, Appalachian, and Vermont join Preble's President on whirlpool guard duty.  The towing and repairing efforts are mostly sorted out by now, and you can see that Ruby Island is finally being visited by cargo ships once more.


The American home island, crowded as usual.  The James Madison and Louisiana are not on fire; I'm using those flames to represent exploding shot.  The Americans used 15 gold to purchase 5 of them, which they intend to use against the reefs. With significant logjams still present near the lumber island, and the big discovery of the Castle just recently, the Americans will once again try to clear a path for ships.  In the long term, one could argue that the reefs could serve as a defensive line if a faction tries to eliminate the Americans at their HI. However, the Americans are quite ambitious in this game and would like to do the opposite - drive opponents away from their own home islands, so they don't have to play defense in the first place!  Plus, with a major Pirate incursion via the whirlpool, there is a way to hit the Americans near home without passing over the reefs.


No less than 11 ships are repairing at the American HI, 5 of them Pirate captures and more ships joining them soon.  As is typical for me in these types of games, once a battle ends I will sometimes gather a ship's masts and place them on the deck once the ship begins repairing, rather than finding each one individually among the wreckage on the turns it repairs.


With a Caribbean Truce in effect, the two most recently active wars have been put on hold.  However, the wars between the JR/Cursed and Americans/Pirates could erupt again at any time.  Possibly even more interesting, Turn 60 will see the resources finally change again! The most recent change was for 5 turns but was extended to 7 through two random changes when I rolled 1's.  Many factions are sitting on large stockpiles of spices, so if those happen to skyrocket in value it could change things big-time.

10/12/2017

Turn 60!  New resource rolls!

A 2 roll for 5 turns!  The 2 was the first time that came up for a regular roll, though it did occur on one of the random one turn changes.  Lumber was worth 6, with luxuries 5 and spices 4. Not only that, but the duration roll was for exactly 5 turns, the 4th time in the last 5 changes that a 5 was rolled for duration!


Captain Villanueva's hunch pays off!  The Rum Runner loads newly discovered gold from the Sultan shipwreck!  Northwest of her, Blackbeard returns from the Caribbean, satisfied with his captive English captain.  He would have liked to abduct more crew, but the English gunships turning around from battle would have wrecked the QAR quickly.


The Pirates have a solid position within the Tunnel.  The Harbinger and Victoire are still guarding the western approach while hiding in the fog.  The Sea Nymph and Royal Rover are patrolling inside the Tunnel, while Mission (in the Crusher) and Calico Cat (in the Revenant) head east on important business.


The Silver Dagger is also speeding east after her quick trip out with the ladders.


Not the French turn yet, but the Pirate whirlpool squadron is busy in the Sea of Karkuda.  At the right, the Feathered Hat meets up with the Celtic Fury, and the Pirate captain has a discussion with Eileen Brigid O'Brien.  The FH's captain makes sure to emphasize how rich and powerful the Pirates are, and how they have a golden island right near their "huge" kingdom.   O'Brien is impressed and will inform Nemo but not the French, who are still unaware of the Mercenary situation. At the left, the Madagascar and Otter will soon take textiles from The Flat but French repair and regroup efforts are blocking their path somewhat.


With a rare view seen from the Noble Swan's only mast, you see what the crew of the NS doesn't: the Sea Crane has rolled to emerge from the fog on the OTHER side, exposing the huge southern wall of the Tunnel.  The Sea Crane is the first Jade ship to go east of the fog! Funny thing is, it happened by accident. The SC was only in the fog after a Cursed L-mover put her there. Who knows what this will result in - possibly some Jade scouting of the Tunnel, or the full scope of the Pirate operations finally revealed to them.


The Cursed are on the move!  About six gunships appear to be making a break for the Tunnel!  Just above them, you can see a cargo ship logjam.


Fog hoppers attack!!  Using the Eye on a tactical strike for the first time, the Sea Hag, Needle, and Hangman's Joke emerge in the Sea of Karkuda!  This is the first time the Cursed have showed up in that ocean!! The Sea Hag somehow hit 4/4, making it easy for the Hangman's Joke to capture the Brandywine!

The Needle was going to capture the ship, but she got a bad fog roll so the Hangman's Joke hopped between oceans as well.

Just when you thought the Cursed turn couldn't get any better, the Gold ship appears!   ...


... at both of their wild islands!!  However, both times the ship disappears just as suddenly, with the Cursed unable to communicate with it or fire at it.


The Cursed have been gathering lumber, and combined some of that with a large chunk of saved up luxuries and spices that were cashed in!  They spent all 213 gold on a megalaunch! No less than 5 new sea creatures emerge from the depths, including the Super Rare version of Brachyura, who will (tentatively) have Eternal built-in to accommodate for the sparklyness.  XD


The Flying Dutchman is a new Cursed flagship, as they've been operating with multiple flagships throughout this game.  The Monkey's Paw and Soul Crusher (where Wraith lies) have been the others in general, though the Soul Crusher has not been in combat yet.  The Roost is quite crowded! In addition, this launch likely put the Cursed at just over 1,000 total points in their fleet, making them the fourth fleet to reach that huge milestone!  O_O (FOUR 1,000 point fleets in one game... wow...)


The Poor Adams does a fog hop of her own, getting a nice roll out of the one where the Executioner now sits to move to the next one, taking advantage of a break in the JR line of battle.  This gets the Poor Adams pretty close to the Jade HI, and she's a ship with the HI raiding ability. The Executioner may be looking to do the same next turn if the Jades don't close that gap.


It was a quiet day in the Caribbean, with the first turn of a 10 turn truce passing peacefully.  Both fleets took their final derelicts under tow and began the journey home for repairs.


French operations with their huge fleet.  At the lower right, the Ange and Bourbon look to defend the eastern food island and possibly explore new territory.  At the end of their turn, the French cashed in a lot of luxuries but didn't spend any gold, an uncommon occurrence in this game of hyper-spending and megalaunches.


The extremely strong French position at The Flat, which now stands at nine 5 masted capital ships with many more gunships sailing in from the east.  The French wanted to put their best fleet forward, and they've done that. It's slightly similar to another cumulative game I played a while back, when the French had a line of battle with just 5 masters from end to end.  An impressive display of firepower, and ANY faction would now be very hard-pressed to dislodge the French from The Flat. Thinking the Mercs are still on their side, French ships make sure a path is clear for the Celtic Fury's move action next turn.


Hearing gunfire and commotion to the east, and wanting to help, the captain of the York sails his ship towards what eventually becomes evident as a Cursed incursion!  The Americans are shocked and unhappy to see the Cursed in the game. The York misses her only shot against the Sea Hag.


As you may have seen from the previous picture, the Castle has some openings that are perfect for schooners to sail through, which the Gold Eagle takes advantage of here.  The Mercury's crew are still exploring the Castle, and are finding it rather dilapidated. The Philadelphia's crew call for help across the reef barrier! They fear the worst for the Brandywine, who has disappeared.


Preble himself hears the call, and sends the lumbering United States over the reef!  Improbably, that ship rolls a 6 to avoid damage but the Saratoga (RotF version, all three versions are in play haha) rolls a 1 to lose two masts!  With such unpredictable results, Preble is not likely to risk the President on the reefs, especially when 5 new exploding shot barrels will be arriving shortly.


The Americans are sending some gunships and their troop transports south towards the Castle.  At the right you can see the foresail of the Mercury as if the ship sits in drydock, while the Gold Eagle ducks under the narrow arch built long ago as part of the Castle.


A rare view showing how long the western wall of the Castle is, with various American ships visible.


A possibly unprecedented situation at the American home island, with 14 ships at various stages in the repair process.  The logistics have become so hampered by the cleanup of the two battles that various ships cannot even dock. The canoes, Lynx, Pawtucket, and others must wait their turn.  The continual difficulties have led to frustration for Preble and the rest of the Americans. Preble is intrigued by the Castle as a possible second base of operations, and may dedicate considerable spending to renovate and restore it.  That's his best case scenario, but interference by the French, Pirates, or even Cursed may hinder his plans. He is proceeding with cautious optimism and plans to oversee things at home and at the Castle from his current post near Ruby Island in between the two areas.


Turn 61 begins with a surprising random resource change!  Just a turn after the regular change, I rolled a 1 to change things yet again.  The two means the new change would only last for a turn, just like the previous random changes, as I haven't rolled two 1's in a row yet for this.  However, the final die was a 1 as well, the first time in the game that a 1 came up for resource values! Everything would be worth its face value, with lumber plummeting to 1 for a turn while luxuries and spices increased to 6 and 5.  As I mentioned in the last report, many factions are sitting on big stockpiles of spices, so this will be a LONG turn!


I only played the Pirate turn of this round so far, since it took quite a while.

Mission and Calico Cat emerge from the Tunnel in a picturesque Pirates CSG scene:


Wow!  With Cursed ships approaching the western entrance to the Tunnel, Captain Blackheart and Hammersmith emerge from the fog aboard the Harbinger and Victoire!  However, this time the Pirates are able to actually talk to the Cursed, instead of being hissed at by the ill-tempered Wraith. El Fantasma himself appears from the deck of the Divine Dragon.  A very long conversation is had. Many things are discussed, most of which I won't discuss here. XD I can say that the Cursed had planned to infiltrate the Tunnel, possibly to access the Pirate gold island and/or to circle back around the eastern entrance for a surprise attack on the Jades' unprotected eastern front.  However, the Pirates talked and threatened them out of it: not only do the two Pirate 5 masters have sac crew aboard (being able to rip off 20 shots between them this turn alone), but the Pirates have a strong squadron stationed off the northern whirlpool which could trap or intercept any Cursed squadron entering the Tunnel.  (the conversation was actually quite long because the more I thought about the situation, the longer it took me to figure things out!) Things are getting complicated in this game. Oh yeah. Very complex. With 3 oceans, over 6,000 points, now 8 fleets, and various alliances, lies, truces, and wars occurring, the game is finally reaching a level of complexity I don't think I've seen in ANY of my games.  At the end of the day, no hostile actions or words were exchanged. Instead, you could say that the Pirates made a deal with the Devil - literally. O_O


The Pirates were one of the factions sitting on spices until they were worth 5 or 6, and now they cash in all their chips!  Spending 315 gold on the second megalaunch of the day, the Pirates put 16 new ships in the water. Those first 5 on the left are for various roles, with Bonny Peel and Will Turner looking to join Blackbeard in the kidnapping festivities.  XD The Stoneheart has built-in reroll for Calypso, a crew that came up huge for the Pirates in Economy Edition and whose one-of-a-kind ability could do the same here in CTO. The Draconum is the second bombardier launched after the French Conquerant, while the Amity will use Ghost Ship to avoid logjams at the kingdom when unloading resources, just like the Hades' Flame has done recently.


The other 11 ships launched are part of a task force whose goal is known only to the Pirates as of now.  Most of the ships (some quite colorful) are launched from Dead Man's Point, which is full once again.


With this launch, the Pirates have almost exactly the same number of points in play as the Americans, passing the French and nearly tying the Americans at around 1,365 points each.  O_O Not only that, but with around 500 points between the Cursed and Pirates, the game has reached 6,500 total points and may even reach a ridiculous 7,000 by turn's end.

The Stoneheart and Amity begin their journey in the game inside the kingdom:


More action coming soon!  I'm getting quite excited about the possibilities, and like I said, things are getting VERY complicated.  The strategy and diplomacy will require both finesse and strength in order for a faction to prevail! More is coming soon, though with large quantities of spices still to be cashed in, Turn 61 promises to be one of the longest yet.  In fact, how about I record what is currently on my index card of saved up gold and resources for the factions who have stuff: (this doesn't include what is still physically on their HI's!)

Jades: 56 spices (with maybe 20+ in physical form too, so they could cash in for nearly 400 gold this turn)
Cursed: 17 textiles (not valuable now)
English: 38 spices (booyah! lol)
Mercenaries: 5 fish, 2 textiles
French: 7 textiles, 8 fish, 178 gold
Americans: 10 textiles, 196 gold

10/13/2017

Finally everything came together for the first time in quite a while for a BIG day of play!   Not counting the Pirate turn played yesterday, I essentially played a whopping THREE turns even as the game size approaches 7,000 points!

With the Pirate turn of Turn 61 over, I started the day with the Jade Rebels.  In a strange move that displayed a new strategy, the Jades sent the Grendel as "bait" in an attempt to get the Cursed to attack.  The Grendel missed both her shots against the Juggernaut, the first ship in the Cursed squadron still pointed at the Tunnel. By the end of their turn, the Grendel was given an AA by Sigurd Andersen to return to the Jade defensive position.  


Continuing the tiny-scale attack, the Wiglaf and Wodin team up to knock masts off the Spilled Salt, a ship that is damaged for I think the third time in this game.  The Wodin captured the Cursed musketeer with a boarding party, but this was the extent of the Jade strike.


With a large war fleet ready to go, it's a bit puzzling why the Jades didn't launch a full attack.  Quite frankly, they are scared. They are afraid that the Pirates and Cursed agreed to an alliance on the Pirate turn (which they didn't, but merely struck a deal), and are wondering if a huge Pirate fleet will suddenly emerge from the foggy Tunnel....


Cashing in a whopping 81 spices for 405 gold, the Jades save most of it but launch the Hlidskjalf and Grand River, the latter of which is a custom Jade 6 master I created way back in late 2011.  The GR will be proxied by the Grand Dynasty, which was sunk earlier in the game.

Grand River
Jade Rebellion, 16 points, 6 masts, 5 cargo, S+S speed, Guns: 3S,3S,3L,3L,3S,3S
Junk. This ship’s base move becomes S when she reaches her cargo limit.


After snagging the Brandywine in a brilliant fog raid against an isolated ship, the Sea Hag and Hangman's Joke take their prize back to the safety of the fog:


Another fog attack!  This time the Needle and Behemoth (who has been copying the fog hopper ability) use the Eye to catch the Sea Crane in between the Tunnel and the Jade HI!  Behemoth pins the ship, which is likely doomed.


With a rare view looking out of the west, the Cursed strike back!  The Jikininki and Fallen Angel are ineffective, but the Death's Anchor and Executioner team up to doom the Wodin with fire!


However, the Cursed don't take the bait!  They are showing some great patience as of late and seem to be biding their time.  However, they are certainly preparing for something....


After agreeing with the Pirates to not invade the Tunnel and the eastern half of Allost, the Cursed turn their ships around.  Suddenly almost all Cursed gunships are heading west.


In the Caribbean, an appearance by the Dragon's Breath has the English on edge and ready for anything.  However, the Pirates assure the English they mean no harm unlike Blackbeard and Havana Black. The captain of the Dragon's Breath says another ship will soon be arriving through the whirlpool, though not a Pirate one....


Cashing in 43 spices for 215 gold, the English launch 9 ships!  Most of them are for a squadron that may do whirlpool expeditions.  With a 10 turn truce with the Spanish secured, the English are hoping to expand into the other oceans they know about but haven't been to.  (outside of the Westminster who has been presumed lost at sea by the English command)


The first big English launch in quite some time!  If not for the truce the Spanish would likely be in big trouble.


Speaking of the Spanish, here are 4 of their ships repairing along with most of their operations.


The French go about their business.  With excess ships, the French can afford to have multiple squadrons for different purposes.  Currently, the bulk of their battle fleet is stationed around The Flat.


The line of troop transports advances with the help of the lighthouse towards The Flat, which the French plan to turn into a stronghold.


As Pirate ships finally take textiles, the French have a massive concentration of firepower on all sides of the island:


The French arrive in the Caribbean for the first time!!  Using directions from the DB's crew, Guy LaPlante was able to find the Caribbean without having to roll for whirlpool location.  Playing a hunch in addition to general orders from Lenoir, LaPlante is in the Caribbean not for the English but for the Spanish. Deleflote's action allowed the Possession to move towards the Spanish fleet right after exiting the whirlpool, as LaPlante's mission is one of some urgency.


The crew aboard the York have their worst fears confirmed: the Brandywine has disappeared!  Between the gunshots and the Sea Hag giving them the slip, the Americans assume the ship was captured and taken by the Cursed.

Beyond the Brandywine's masts, you can see a cracked wall of the Castle.

The American venture further east into the Castle area, impressed by its size and height.  The crew of the Saratoga moor their ship inside, but will find repairs impossible until more assistance and supplies arrives.


Looking from directly above the west wall of the Castle, American operations on Turn 61.  The Louisiana and James Madison are carrying exploding shot into position for attempts at clearing reefs.  The American assembly line of ships continues to round the reefs and fog to the north, with the troop transports slowly approaching the Castle.


Cashing in some spices and adding it to their reserves of gold, the Americans spend a whopping 291 gold!  However, 250 of it is spent on the third fort upgrade purchased in this game! You can see it on a new American capital ship, the Enterprise!  The Enterprise was my second 5 master EVER and is such a veteran of HFS battles and various games that her masts are somewhat loose simply from being taken out and repaired dozens of times.


You'll also notice the new infantry troops aboard the Nene-nui and Colonial Trader, in addition to even more infantry on the home island.


With Turn 61 in the books, Turn 62 saw a return to the resource value roll of 2, meaning spices would be back down to 4 with lumber king once again.

After speaking with O'Brien, the crew of the Feathered Hat take a little time to explore their surroundings, finding the Castle!  However, having only seen the north face of it, the Pirates aren't fully aware of the Castle's size or potential.


With a VERY successful trip, some of the Pirate whirlpool squadron returns home!  Havana Black is disappointed he missed out but is excited to learn about the developments.  The captain of the Dragon's Breath informs him of the new alliance with the French, in addition to LaPlante's recent excursion to the Caribbean, where the English look ready for a potential Pirate attack.  The Madagascar and Otter will eventually unload their small quantities of textiles at the kingdom, which will be the first time the Pirates have that resource since the DMP island stopped producing it.


With a great view from above, here is the Pirate Kingdom!


The western half of Allost is much more tense, but neither side engages.  Hearing shots beyond the fog, the Grand Temple and a Viking 1 master enter the fog west of the Tunnel.  The Wiglaf flees from the Cursed, but the Wodin burns to the waterline and is eliminated from the game.


The Cursed continue to move west:


The new English squadron sets sail!  In addition, the Ark Royal has been repaired and crewed with a captain, helmsman, and oarsman once more.


Even as one of the smaller fleets in the game, the English are still capable of a "forest of masts" if the picture is taken at the right angle:


Sighting the French tricolor speeding towards them from the Possession's mainmast, the Santo Columba surges forward to greet the new faction!  (new to the Spanish, that is) LaPlante is able to row over in a boat and immediately engages in conversation with the SC's captain. By the time he climbs back into the boat, the Spanish are furious.


With a line of signals exchanged, Marcus Vaccaro (the current Spanish admiral) becomes knowledgeable of the development.  He sails over and hails Admiral Thomas Gunn aboard HMS Lord Algernon. In a surprisingly cordial meeting of the flagships, a deal is struck - the Spanish and English have PEACE!  O_O

Clearly something has changed Spanish minds, and the Spanish have lost interest with the War on England.  The truce has been abandoned for a full, indefinite period of peace between the two factions. A milestone in the Caribbean for sure!


The Mercenaries take their turn, and Eileen Brigid O'Brien pilots the Celtic Fury towards the whirlpool!  She then takes the 10 master through it!! O_O THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN!!


Following instructions laid out by the captain of the Feathered Hat, O'Brien brings her huge ship to the Sea of Allost!  Suddenly the Celtic Fury is in Pirate waters! What could this mean??


The French go immediately after the Mercs in the turn order, and L'Heros meets with the Sunrise Fire.  The crews exchange many words, with the captain of the Sunrise Fire somewhat puzzled but mostly playing dumb, knowing the sly nature of the Feathered Hat's captain....


The plan was for the Celtic Fury to reinforce the French squadron at The Flat, making that area by far the most stable in the entire game with nearly a dozen French 5 masters and now a 10 master right around the island.  However, the CF has disappeared from Karkuda entirely. Now, we know that the Mercenaries are playing on their own and have duped the French. However, it's unclear if Nemo ordered O'Brien to do this or something else entirely.  Perplexed but calm, the French use their southern squadron of 6 gunships to approach the submerged Mercenaries running resources to their sub hideout. Also, it's worth noting that although they heard gunshots beyond the north wall of the Castle, the French don't know about the Cursed.


At The Flat, L'Afrique drops off 4 infantry units.  The Geographe approaches with more as the Felicite speeds off on her own business as a fast support gunship that has been given autonomy by Lenoir.  At this point, due to the considerable distances involved, Lenoir is acting commander of the French battle fleet, while Gaston oversees operations closer to home.  Gaston is still the main French admiral, but Lenoir is currently in command of far more firepower.


Again similar to that old game I played, I can't get enough of this massive display of firepower the French have.  Between the beauty of their ships, my love of 5 masters, and how similar their 5 masters are for gameplay, it's just a perfect fleet!


Gaston himself turns around to sail towards the sub hideout, having got wind of the recent development.  Since you see what the faction sees, check out what is visible to the Bourbon and Ange - shipwrecks in the distance!


Not wanting to believe the French, the captain of the Santo Columba calls Guy LaPlante (Diplomat of France!  lol) over for an extended visit. The more the Spanish hear, the more they believe. The Spanish are outraged.


The York and Gold Eagle meet up and word is passed on about the Brandywine's likely fate.  The Americans have a bit of a morale loss, as the Brandywine had been an accurate vessel during the battle against the Pirates, setting at least one Pirate ship aflame while taking no damage.  She was also one of the first ships to explore the Castle and the only ship to scout the eastern side until now. At the bottom, the Speedy Return loses a mast to the reef barrier, which the Americans are getting more confident with.


The Americans are in operating mode.  With both wars somewhat on hold, the Americans are devoting major efforts to the Castle.  The Louisiana was successful at blowing up a reef! This will help clear the way for American ships to access the eastern 2/3 of Karkuda more easily.  In addition, note the impressive spending headed towards the Castle, with a fort upgrade, army units, and various ships sailing there.


With a view of the American HI from the west this time, many of the captured Pirate ships are finishing repairs.  However, the Americans plan to trade them all in at once for a big influx of points to spend that turn. The Americans also rearrange their army units and resources to point their cannons and muskets more to the east.


This gives a small idea of the scope of this huge game.  American logistics are slowly being optimized, but more reefs will need to be cleared before Preble is satisfied.  The American-French truce is becoming a little more tense, as both sides have lines of battle set up within shooting distance of each other.  The French line guards The Flat while the American line guards troop transports and fragile ships heading south towards the Castle. It remains to be seen what interest the French have in the Castle, if any.


Turn 63!

Mission uses his own EA to sail over and greet O'Brien!  Eileen is extremely impressed with the Pirate operation and has agreed to join the Pirates!!  It started with Nemo giving her some autonomy over how to handle certain situations, but it was mostly the Feathered Hat's captain that persuaded O'Brien to take the CF into Pirate waters to at least check out their activities.  O'Brien chose the Pirates after being disappointed by how tiny the Mercenary fleet is and seeing how controlling the French could be. With the Pirates she hopes to find her own way and not answer to the whims of Nemo or Gaston. In addition, the Pirates have offered higher pay than Nemo did.  XD However, Mission already has a mission (lol) for the Celtic Fury....


Calico Cat takes the Revenant near the kingdom for the first time, while the Pirates now have quite the force near their southern whirlpool.  The Deliverance and Fool's Hope may join up with the Pirate whirlpool squadron. At the right, Calypso is in play aboard the Stoneheart, a ship the Pirates will want to keep safe.


Using a ladder she later takes aboard, the Ranger loads infantry units.  A ship launched solely for ferrying random cargo (shipwrights, army units, ladders, etc), this is her first mission of the sort after sailing around aimlessly after being launched.  In the background are some colorful sails, namely the Bloody Jewel and Rum Runner.


The Pirates still have good support around the eastern end of the Tunnel.  The various 2 masted gunships have been patrolling for many turns now. On the contrary, recent launches sail south on a mission.  Bonny Peel aboard the Akua Lapu and Will Turner aboard the Fleur de la Mort hope to capture enemy crew and turn them into gold! The question remains: which faction might they go after?  The Jades and Cursed aren't far away, but both have massed fleets full of warships. The whirlpool opens up any of the other factions as potential prey, and of course the Pirates could always split up as well.  You can also just see the outline of the Royal Rover not even halfway in the Tunnel.


The most recently launched Pirate squadron meets with even more gunships at the northern whirlpool!


I count 22 ships ready to sail through the whirlpool on the next turn or two, and I believe all but the Thrud have captains and helmsmen.


Not satisfied with their infantry numbers, the Pirates cash in lumber from the Hades' Flame to launch the Panama Sun with a helmsman and three infantry units aboard.  You can also see the gold waterfall, the Pandora, and the Darkhawk II. The Pirates continue to source metals from Pistol Island, which may result in another big windfall eventually.


The Sea Crane predictably loses her fight against Behemoth and the Needle!  


The Behemoth prepares to hop home while the Needle takes the Jade ship under tow just like the Hangman's Joke did with the Brandywine.


Speaking of the Brandywine, the Cursed got her home quickly with another fog hop to the Roost!


Halls of Valhalla?  Cursed sea monsters head west along with the regular gunships.


The Cursed are sailing towards the edge of the ocean, while 4 cargo ships dock at Broken Horn Island to load valuable lumber.


The English take in 9 spices while their new gunships head west:


The Santo Columba speeds southeast towards the English and the only Caribbean whirlpool.


Puzzled by the Aube, Voleur, and Bourbon trying to get his attention, Nemo actually surfaces the Nautilus!  However, he keeps up the lie that the Mercs are actually helping the French and still under their command. Part of the reason he came to the surface is that he himself doesn't understand why O'Brien took off, and he's truthful about that to the French.  The French are being fooled by Nemo, but both factions are left in the dust by Ms. O'Brien.


The French discover Fish Island but the Mobilis and Devil Ray refuse to surface.


At the eastern food island, the crew of La Dijon finds that metals have replaced food as the island's resource!  French cargo ships are always coming and going, but the Harbor is more deserted than it's been in a while.


The Geographe drops off army units, and the French continue to fortify The Flat.  At the left, you can see the French line of battle, full of capital ships. There are eight 5 masters in the staggered line with two more and the Hercule up north.  At the right, another 10 gunships are sailing slowly along the west wall of the Harbor.


The French-American situation in Karkuda.  The Americans have a very impressive line of their own, which now stretches just about the entire distance from the south to north.  The Georgetown is at the southern edge of the ocean near the Castle, with the Paul Revere and Yankee the northernmost ships above the lumber island.  At the bottom right, the Vermont and Speedy Return could discover Nemo's Submarine Hideout and the French on the next turn. You can also see the Carolina ducking under a Castle arch.


Part of the reason I was able to play nearly 3 full turns was due to the lack of combat, which will likely change soon.  Throw in less time overall to play, and things will slow back down again in terms of how many turns can be played in the short term.  However, the game is getting more exciting and it's basically a convoluted mess at this point between all the possibilities, alliances, and lies going around!  Stay tuned!

10/14/2017

Warning: short report here, and the next few will likely be as well.

Turn 64 begins with yet another random resource change!  For this one turn, metals would be worth 6 again and textiles 5!  This would result in a bunch of launches since those resources haven't been valuable in a while.


The Pirates send the Xiamen's Claws through the whirlpool and she arrives in the Sea of Karkuda!!  Christoper Moody is in a bad mood! XD


Using an AA from Jean Lafitte, the Xiamen's Claws spots the American flagship and rams the President!  Preble himself is under attack! The XC hit with her 2S guns to damage the President and eliminate a canoe heading home with spices from Ruby Island.  However, the 5 is the boarding roll for Preble, who narrowly escaped a brutal fate. The XC rolled a 3 to lose the boarding party 9-8 (the XC gets +1 to boards), losing her helmsman.  The President had reroll to save the American crew, but if both their rolls had been low, Preble himself would have been massacred along with the captain and helmsman by Moody! O_O Making a statement, the Pirates strike the American core directly with a surprise whirlpool assault.  


The Americans are under attack!  Or, they will be once the Pirates take their next turn to actually shoot.  Including the Xiamen's Claws (an underrated Pirate gunship option I must say), the Pirates send 14 ships through the whirlpool!  The Thrud is the only one without a captain aboard, and some HI raiders are among the lot. It's a decent squadron of mostly average gunships that will put American defenses to the test yet again.  However, this time the Pirates plan on fighting harder and longer, as their spending indicates....


To give you a sense of what the Pirates have been thinking about (since I've mostly just done that in detail for the Americans so far), they were not planning this as of last night.  That squadron of ships and some others were actually going to invade the Caribbean and attack the English instead! O_O However, a few things changed their mind. First, the Dragon's Breath reported back last turn, saying that the English had some ships defending against whirlpool attack and possibly a large squadron heading there in the distance (which is true).  Second, the Pirates are generally aware that the Americans have one of the biggest fleets in the game, while the English likely do not. The Pirates certainly know this between their defeat at the hands of the Americans and their alliance with the French providing information about the Second Fight at The Flat. Finally, the Pirates would still like to strike the English (and hopefully soon), but for now they are concentrating their war effort against a faction they want revenge on, and a faction that we know (as the witnesses of the point counts) MIGHT be the Pirates' biggest rival long-term especially with the French as an ally.


Cashing in 26 metals for 156 gold, the Pirates spend it all on 9 additional gunships!!  After their "meh" gunships went through the whirlpool to Karkuda, it was evident that some of them weren't crewed well enough.  Hence, a medical barge. The Raven's Neck carries regular fighting crew but has the cargo available to also carry 3 shipwrights.  She will sail to Karkuda in the hopes of providing repair assistance to Pirate ships in need. Medical barges are best as durable ships that can fight if need be but usually stay back from a fight to distribute shipwrights to retreating vessels, possibly elongating their stay on the battlefield.  It's likely that the battle against the Americans will be too chaotic and crowded for this kind of finesse strategy to work, but the Pirates want to properly support their attack unlike the first battle. Below the RN's deckplate are 7 more average or somewhat subpar gunships that the Pirates consider expendable (unlike the Revenant for example).  The Pirates are simply going to throw massive points at the Americans in an effort to weaken them, distract them, and possibly even raid their HI. However, though these ships may even be less effective than the ones that just entered Karkuda, they are crewed better. All the ships have an oarsman and/or shipwright aboard, ensuring that they will be ready for battle after any potential whirlpool damages. (losing the oarsman or repairing for a turn AT the battlefield rather than having to lose an important mast or helmsman)  At the top, the Obago is separate because she will stay behind with the other anti-English ships (such as the Revenge and Black Mongoose, who get +1 to cannon rolls against the English). Therefore it was a dual launch, with most of the ships launched to combat the Americans but at least one to augment the slowly growing squadron which may infiltrate the Caribbean at some point.


Mission leads the Celtic Fury and other ships towards the Tunnel.  Up top, sheer firepower awaits the Americans and (probably at some point) the English.  The Full Moon, Fuchuan, Zanzibar, and Poison Dagger can reach the whirlpool next turn, and they'll probably join the fight against the Americans.  The Golden Medusa and White Rose will likely stay behind from the battles and be reserved for conflicts later in the game. The Black Mongoose and Revenge will wait for reinforcements, while Blackbeard has his own agenda.  The Recreant and Accused will likely stay behind after their disastrous experience in the first American battle, but add them and the Kirbac to the squadron just launched from Dead Man's Point, and the Pirates have some serious firepower at their disposal near whirlpools.  In fact, doing a quick count reveals about 34 gunships between the ones in Karkuda and the ones at DMP or near the northern whirlpool!


The Jade Rebellion turn was mostly uneventful, save for this.  The Hlidskjalf AND Grand Temple both got very favorable fog rolls to luckily come out near the Needle to give the captured Sea Crane assistance!  However, even with decently accurate cannons, the two ships only shot 2/6! This leaves the Needle able to sail back into the fog on the Cursed turn, at which point the Sea Crane will be lost.


10/17/2017

The Cursed had an uneventful Turn 64, but are saving up.

In the Caribbean, English ships go to and from the home island.  New gunships are departing while old ones come in for repairs. At the left, a long-awaited sight: HMS Westminster returns!  The English on the other hand are shocked to see the ship, who spent a long journey in Karkuda repairing at the French Harbor.  Her remaining crew tell the English fleet about how massive and impressive the French Harbor and fleet is. The English and French are probably the factions closest to having an alliance without actually having one right now...


... although the potential for a Franco-Spanish alliance continues to grow!  Vaccaro has a personal meeting with Guy LaPlante, incredulous at the topics that came up.  LaPlante has now spoken with the Spanish admiral in addition to the Santo Columba's captain.


Speaking of the Santo Columba, she went through the Caribbean whirlpool!  However, she rolled a 2 to emerge in the Sea of Allost! This is not what the Spanish had hoped for, but the captain was too eager to wait for LaPlante's guidance through the whirlpool.  Not only is this the first time a Spanish ship has traveled via whirlpool, but it's also the first direct Pirate-Spanish contact of the game! The Pirates ready their guns, but ask what business the Spanish have.  The captain of the SC quickly responds that they are on a mission after an unfortunate conversation with a French diplomat. The Pirates perk up and welcome the Spanish, as they're allies of France.


The Santa Ana's extra action propels her towards the whirlpool following Vaccaro's conversation with LaPlante.  Other French gunships head southeast, and the Spanish put forth 3 more after cashing in some textiles and combining it with gold: the Corazon Dorado, Monte Cristo, and Lepanto can be seen at the Spanish HI.


Hoping to play more consistently after this brief little hiatus!  It's just a combination of being busier on certain days of the week, and almost all non-Pirates stuff (well, Pirates stuff too actually XD) taking far longer than I ever anticipate.

10/18/2017

Nemo continues to speak with Gaston and the French captain of the Aube.  


However, he grows frustrated, as even he cannot explain the mysterious disappearance of Eileen Brigid O'Brien and the Celtic Fury.  Mid-conversation, he abruptly goes below into the Nautilus and orders the submarine to dive!!


The Nautilus speeds into the Mercenary sub hideout, and the doors close for the first time since they were opened!  Nemo is gone!


Over on the south side of the hideout, the Devil Ray and Mobilis have also gone into the hideout, with the doors closing behind them!  The Mercenaries surface inside, unloading some food and cashing in textiles for gold.


The French begin their turn.  Finally coming to terms with the likelihood that the Mercenaries are no longer under their employ, Gaston orders the Aube to open fire!  The big warship shoots at the sub hideout but the cannonballs simply bounce off the thick metal doors!!


The French surround the sub hideout and blast away!  However, the other ships can't dent it or get at the subs either.  Gaston plans to run a close blockade to contain the Mercs and punish them.


The French spend just over 200 of their 300+ gold to get 12 new ships!  Le Loup-Garou is tasked with exploring other potential oceans, while most of the others are launched for war.  Some may head to The Flat, while others might defend local islands or the Harbor itself. The Favori is meant as a dual-purpose cargo ship: she will carry resources, but will also be a priority ship for army units.  (S2=shipwright, etc... I'm having to use tiny crew chips instead of any existing ones (though I've mostly run out of those too) just because of space constraints... with the tiny ones I can fit many more deckplates in those areas than if I had the big square chips for all the crew)


6 of the ships are launched in the Harbor, with the other 6 launched at The Flat.


The Americans open fire on the Pirates!  They also attempted to surround them, but don't have quite enough gunships in the area to fully contain them.  The Americans concentrated on stopping the Pirates from going due north on their next turn, which would be problematic with many cargo ships and the American HI nearby.  At the right, the James Madison has knocked out a reef, giving the Americans easier access to the Castle!


Under Preble's urgent command, the President scored some hits on the Xiamen's Claws, the most offensive invader thus far.  The Americans are furious a Pirate ship was able to invade and strike Preble's ship directly. In a rare sight, the canoes are given a shoot action, and they respond with 2 hits in 3 attempts.  At the right, the Nene-nui and Enterprise head to the Castle with army units and an important fort upgrade. Above the President, the Colonial Trader simply sailed in the opposite direction she had been heading, in order to make room for the Concordia.  That ship and others will try to enter the fray next turn.


However, in the actual battle area, the Americans had an abysmal turn at the guns.  I can honestly say it was one of the worst single-turn offensive efforts in the history of my games.  An absolutely pitiful performance, it left the Pirates in good position for a counterattack for their turn, and may signal a momentum shift compared to the first Pirate-American battle.  At its worst, the turn saw the Americans not just missing, but missing badly. One string of six shots saw five of them miss with a 1! O_O


At the bottom, numerous American gunships turn around after hearing the commotion to the west.  The Mercury will guard the southeastern approach to the Castle against the French and/or Mercenaries.  In the middle, the Carolina has unloaded the first American troops to enter the Castle! The Jackson will unload more next turn, with 3+ additional ships headed there as well.


Going on a big launch, the Americans put forth 10 new ships!  This was a direct response to the Pirates' second invasion through the whirlpool.  The fully repaired Pirate gunships were traded in for their point values, combining with their crew to make up 105 of the ~200 gold the Americans spent.  Notice some of the best American ships (Kettering and Ghost Walker) and some of the worst (Oregon, Shark, Superior, etc). It was a bit of an odd launch, but for a good reason: the Americans are running out of ships.  That's right, this game has gotten to be so big that some factions may even run out of ships to launch! O_O In that case, there are still minor faction ships out there in addition to various customs, so it's not like a faction will lose the game due to lack of quantity.  However, as more and more factions approach the point at which they exhaust themselves, the biggest factions in the game by overall ship count (Big 4 of English, French, Spanish, and Pirates) do gain somewhat of an advantage long-term.


The repairing Ranger is the only Pirate capture not traded in yet, as 10 new American gunships prepare to take on the Pirates.  At the upper right, an ominous sight for any opponent: the newly repaired Albany and Constitution have headed out, bringing their 9 combined rank-2 cannons back into play.


Darkness falls on the Sea of Allost as Turn 65 begins.  I didn't roll a 1 for a random resource change, so lumber is worth 6 again, though the roll of 2 will only hold for 2 more turns.  The Tunnel is becoming quite crowded, with the Akua Lapu (not visible), Celtic Fury, Crusher, and Fleur de la Mort all entering.


Up north, the newest Pirate squadron sets sail for the whirlpool!


Back to Karkuda!  The Pirates attack!  Attempting to push the Americans back in order to make room for new gunships arriving via whirlpool, the Pirates suffer almost as bad a turn as the Americans.  They fail to do major damage, although the Lenox is set on fire.


The Gruesome, Minerva and Devil's Kiss all rammed.  This battle could see more ramming and boarding than others, since even though no ram damage makes it less of an offensive move, the battle may be even more crowded and close-fought than the previous one between these factions.  In this case the Pirates are literally just trying to surge forward and push the Americans back towards their HI. The more room there is around the whirlpool, the more Pirate gunships can flood the area and make a victory more likely.


My personal favorite of the battle so far.  The Devil's Kiss and Georgetown are burning, while fallen Pirate masts threaten to cover up the whirlpool entirely.  The Lucky Seven has been the luckiest Pirate ship in the battle so far, hitting 3/4 (with a musketeer) against the Georgetown.  However, the Freedom, Black Cat and Ningpo were not nearly as effective.


Four more mediocre Pirate gunships come through the whirlpool!  However, the final ship to emerge is a surprise: the Queen Anne's Revenge!  Blackbeard himself enters the fray, using an EA from Sean Gallows to ram the OE James Madison.  However, the QAR missed, and the JM managed to tie the boarding roll with a 6 (9 total with the boarding bonus) to avoid having a crew captured!  At the bottom left, two Pirate HI raiders go through the opening south of Luck Island, and El Dorado follows them. Having suffered heavy damage without even shooting, the Mystic has returned to Pirate waters where she can repair at Dead Man's Point.


Showing they mean serious business, the Pirates spend 230 gold on a megalaunch!  A full dozen ships are launched at Dead Man's Point, and ALL of them are launched for the war against the Americans.  The Pirates bought back the 7 ships the Americans had traded in, so they will get another chance at glory. The Mocha, Cacao, and Pillage are all pretty basic gunships that follow the trend the Pirates have set in recent launches.  However, the Pride is one of their fastest warships, while the Belladonna adds another HI raider to the mix. Notice that they are extremely well-crewed, with every ship having at least one extra crew in addition to the standard captain and helmsman.  Those oarsmen and shipwrights will come in handy to combat whirlpool travel damage, while the firepot specialists may mean a permanent end for some American vessels.


Yet again Dead Man's Point is extremely crowded.  The Pirates have an amazingly balanced and effective resource system, and they continue to put out squadron after squadron of new ships.  They continue their strategy against the Americans: throw huge amounts of points at the American fleet and they will have to retreat or be worn down into surrender.  Some Pirate ships will reach the whirlpool next turn, with more coming after that. Then, another big wave will arrive. All told, the Pirates may throw over 30 ships at the Americans in this multi-layered battle.  It will be interesting to see if the Americans can hold up over time, and if they will be able to continue their Castle operations or cease them altogether. The French aren't fully aware of the Pirate attack, but an alliance exists between those two.  If the Pirates can convince the French to break their truce with the Americans, the Americans will be in big trouble, with two of the strongest factions in the game hammering them from two angles.


An overhead look at the fort, with 12 new Pirate ships in play.  At the upper right, the Fancy and Smiling Jim have been running resources all game (literally, since they were in the starting Pirate fleet!), but now they have been given captains and will be on patrol duty.  The logjams at the kingdom entrances are not worth 2 ships having just 3 cargo spaces between them, as recent Pirate launches have seen more effective cargo ships launched.


These events took quite a while to play out, with the three largest factions in the game (France, America, Pirates) becoming even larger with about 10 new ships each!  Some faction turns alone can take over an hour with launchings, so a full turn can take more time than I have available for this game in a day. The game keeps ballooning to higher and higher point levels, which will likely result in another point count within a week or so.  However, keeping in mind the general deadline of Thanksgiving, I may have to enforce artificial endgame rules to avoid suddenly stopping the game when there is still thousands of points sailing around. This is because I know from past experience that playing an "endgame" with a game of this size could easily take over a month alone, not to mention if it gets bigger.  The most likely solution would be to have islands gradually stop producing resources. I feel that this actually makes sense too, since factions have really been taking a lot of stuff from these wild islands lol, to produce such astronomically large fleets. XD

10/19/2017

Was listening to some Tchaikovsky while I wrote this, and I suppose it would work for reading as well!

The Cursed had another uneventful play turn, but continued moving their ships west towards the edge of the Sea of Allost.


However, that picture doesn't show what they launched!  The Guichuan is here!! Possibly even more importantly is who comes aboard to helm the ship...


... DAVY JONES!!!!  The DJC version of Davy Jones comes aboard the second 10 master to enter the game.  He will partner with the Headhunter to make a very imposing ship. In addition, since the Cursed have the Eye, they can see any ability on any of the three oceans, which means that DJ will be able to copy ANY ability, not just ones the Cursed have been exposed to!  I wanted to add more named crew to the ship, but with the Headhunter/DJ/captain/helmsman quartet coming in at 23 points, there wasn't a lot I could do. Various generic crew will make the ship more of a threat, including being an 11-gun ship. The Locker and Pyre are also launched with some crew.  You may remember that Behemoth is also in play, but as I've done in the past with the Cursed during CG's, they can have more than one Limit game piece in play at the same time.


In the Caribbean, the English make way for the French and Spanish, both of whom seem to be in a hurry.  The captain of the Metal Dragon speaks with Guy LaPlante, and the English try to form an alliance with the French!  However, though LaPlante says an alliance is likely, he cannot guarantee Gaston and Lenoir will be completely on board with it (pun intended).


English ships surround the whirlpool, and their squadron of gunships will likely take the plunge soon!


At this point the English have quite a fleet, but many of their gunships will likely depart the Caribbean soon.  I'm a little sad that current circumstances may see somewhat of an exodus from the Caribbean, but I certainly haven't reached the final part of the game yet, so I'm hopeful it will be active once more.


A full squadron of eight Spanish gunships follow Vaccaro's lead southeast towards the Caribbean whirlpool....


As Vaccaro himself meets up with LaPlante!  Vaccaro is wiser than the captain of the Santo Columba, who went through the whirlpool only to end up in the Sea of Allost.  Vaccaro will follow LaPlante's lead through the whirlpool to avoid exiting at a random whirlpool.


The French enact a close blockade of Nemo's sub hideout!  The French aren't taking any more chances with the rogue Mercenaries.


The captain of L'Ange de la Mer gets bored and explores the southeastern edge of Karkuda!  Beyond my shipwreck cove, he spots a new wild island!


The French have a bit of a logjam at the Harbor.  At the left, fortifications at The Flat are complete for now.  The French now have 11 infantry units and 1 artillery unit stationed on the island in addition to the 5 cannons of Paradis de la Mer.  Not to mention the 27 gunships defending the area on patrol duty. O_O XD Indeed, this French defense of The Flat is one of the most impressive displays of firepower I've ever seen in a game.  At the whirlpool, the LLG (Le Loup-Garou) spins out attempting to find a new whirlpool. Next to her is the Possession, as LaPlante has returned from his important Caribbean excursion!


And now for the American turn.  XD

The Americans have troops at the Castle!  The Jackson and Nene-nui unload infantry and artillery, while other troops make their way to the ramparts.  How exciting!


The Atlanta and Bartlett have more army units coming soon, while the Carolina takes a shortcut to leave the Castle.


Carolina coming through, with the Atlanta's name visible along with the artillery unit she's carrying:


And the opposite!


Wayne Nolan is desperately trying to unload the Enterprise's fort upgrade so he can then turn the powerful warship against the hated Pirates on the battlefield.  Near the Enterprise you can see about 8 American gunships trying to get to the battle. The Niagara is the only one of those to shoot so far, blasting away at the Lucky Seven.


And now we really get into the thick of the action.  The Americans have rallied with a war cry of "FIRE!!!" and it's working well!  The Georgetown used her reverse captain ability to shoot at and then ram the Freedom.  The Niagara shot 1/2 to take a mast off the Lucky Seven, while the James Madison (a cargo ship but playing the role of block ship here to try and stop the Pirate advance) hit 1/3 to damage the Black Cat.  The Appalachian was ineffective against the Devil's Kiss, but the Saratoga is ready to back her up.


Right in the hottest part of the fight!  Preble is not running away this time! The American admiral will lead from the front!!  In a thematic display of leadership, the President went a whopping 4/4 to shoot masts off the Gruesome and Xiamen's Claws, the latter of which was later captured.  Just like the Georgetown to the south, the Lenox put out her fire mast. The Gruesome has been completely dismasted, while the Minerva is shattered and has lost all 3 of her crew.  (her captain was possessed by Wraith, unbeknownst to the Pirates or Americans) The Hudson cannot compete with the Silverback's L-immunity, but the Minuteman flotilla managed to knock a mast off with her 2S guns finding an open lane to shoot through.  Some debris is beginning to pile up, but this is still the opening of the battle, so there will be MUCH more....


A beautiful shot of the American war fleet answering the call to arms!  Indeed, the effective shooting allowed for the XC to be captured early in the turn.  This made some room for the Quigley, Concordia, Julius Caesar, Blackwatch, and Grampus to approach the battle faster.  The Minuteman (ship) helped dismast the XC, which is why her bow is pointed away from the battle.


The Minuteman (flotilla) and James Madison combine to go 4/6 and severely damage Blackbeard's ship!  The QAR loses two masts and will likely retire as her crew are a big asset for the Pirates. Also notice the nice color on the various sails.


The ten American gunships launched last turn sail out!  They will inject some life into the American resistance, which did FAR better this turn than last turn.  The Americans were taken off guard at first, but now they are in do-or-die mode and Preble roused them to an effective turn.  The 6 gunships at the top of the frame (Superior is behind the Oregon) aren't likely to be too effective, but the Americans just need them to stem and hopefully HALT the Pirate advance.  However, the two cancellers (Ghost Walker and Kettering) could provide a solid advantage for the Americans, especially with their abundance of L-range guns as well.


An overview of the battle area, with the Pirates the next faction to go as the next round begins....


With all that effort down south, you'd think the Americans would have exhausted their fighting capacity.  However, with one of the biggest fleets in any game ever, that is not the case! The Americans are holding their line strong against any potential French attack, with 13 gunships stationed north of the Castle.


With the southeastern island finally revealed, here is the Sea of Karkuda!  


10/21/2017

Huzzah for a battle report on Trafalgar Day!   Well not quite by the time this is posted, but oh well haha. This has become somewhat of a tradition for me, as I try to honor such an important event each year in my own way through playing this game.  I was even able to play through most of the battle time (afternoon), though in EST haha.

The Pirates have purchased another ladder so the Madagascar and Otter can unload textiles from The Flat without adding to the logjam at the kingdom entrances.


The Pirates venture further into the Tunnel:


At the other end you can see that Bonny Peel and Le Requin have nearly taken the Akua Lapu into Cursed waters:


Another batch of Pirate gunships approach the whirlpool:


On the battlefield, carnage mounts as the Jaguar's Spirit, Chico and Bonny Kate make their entrances.


The Gilded Monkey used an AA to nearly reach the American home island!  Her cannons dismasted the Lynx, and the Pirates continue to anger the Americans by hitting them in places they feel safe.  First it was Preble's flagship, and now it's nearly an HI raid despite so many American gunships in the area.


The Pirates were mostly ineffective on their turn.  With the QAR pinned to the James Madison, Blackbeard cannot escape to repair.


A big problem for the Pirates is that their ships simply cannot dismast or sink American ships yet.  The battle has quickly turned into an attritional struggle with little damage being done each turn.


The JR's use the Huginn to sink the captured Sea Crane before she can be towed home by the Needle!  The Jades would rather see the ship at the bottom of the ocean than in the skeletal hands of the Cursed.


This shows how effective the Cursed L-movers have been lately.  Tsuro and Tabby (McWarren) are throwing JR ships into the wall of fog that blocks the Tunnel.  At that point it is quite likely that the ships will roll to move into a different fog bank or emerge on the wrong side of the wall.  This delays Jade efforts and may even prevent an attack on the Cursed.


The Cursed spend a bunch of gold to launch the Rook's Folly, Pestilence, and a set of their native canoes!


On to the English!

The Metal Dragon exits the Caribbean whirlpool at the Sea of Karkuda!  Suddenly the ship is in the middle of the second Pirate-American battle!


Very intrigued and also excited by the possibilities this discovery holds, the Metal Dragon uses an AA from CRGO to return to the Caribbean.  There the crew tell the English fleet about the battle. After some quick conversations a big decision is made!


The English enter the fray and they're here to fight!!  Four English gunships arrive in the Sea of Karkuda, ready to kill some Pirates.  The Resolution, St. George, Ark Royal and Henry VIII represent the first multi-ship English presence in Karkuda, in addition to a continuation of English policy to explore other oceans through the Caribbean whirlpool.  Having secured a truce with the Spanish, the English are now free to get revenge on the Pirates, which has been on their minds since the Pirate whirlpool squadron attacked. Blackbeard's raid has only compounded English hatred of pirates.


The Spanish turn begins and sure enough they follow LaPlante through the northern whirlpool of Karkuda!  The Santa Ana gets an EA to move south while the Santo Columba is the second Spanish ship in the sea.


The French try to find a new whirlpool, but LLG rolls a 3 to emerge in the Caribbean, a whirlpool the French are already familiar with.


The Americans take their turn, with the battle area looking even denser.  Indeed, in the middle of this picture it's almost a solid block of ships from the bottom of the frame to the top.


The Lucky Seven is dismasted, and the Georgetown is completely covered and obscured by multiple masts of debris:


The Black Cat also lost a mast, but some Pirate ships are simply out of range since they're behind other ships.


Incredible destruction.  The Minerva joins the Gruesome on the list of Pirate derelicts.  The Hudson stopped towing one of the Minuteman flotillas and sailed north since the Silverback is immune to her L-range guns.  This allowed the fresh USS Emerald to enter the battle, and Commodore David Porter connected with a Broadsides Attack! This took out 1.5 of the Silverback's final two masts, and later in the turn the Ghost Walker cancelled her ability to dismast her.


SLAUGHTERFIELD:


The Americans are deploying a stalling and logjam strategy.  If they tow Pirate derelicts or eventually sink them with constant cannon fire, the Pirates will have additional room on their next turn that they can use to put fresh ships on the front lines.  The current logjam and unexpected English entrance is severely limiting how many new ships can arrive from the whirlpool each turn as well, furthering the American strategy thus far.

With derelict and weakened Pirate ships everywhere they look, some American ships are actually retreating since they're not needed yet.  The Hudson and President hope to repair at the HI, while the Concordia gets out of the way so the Adventurous can continue towing the Xiamen's Claws.  The Kettering, Quigley, Minuteman and others are ready to assist immediately when needed.


The QAR is dismasted!


The Thrud is dismasted as well, though not by the Fly.  After that ship missed both her shots, the Swamp Fox came over and shot away both masts in a single die roll via Broadsides Attack.


Predictably, the Americans are able to dismast the Gilded Monkey right after her encroachment of American territory.  As the Lynx repairs, 4 ships team up to wreck the schooner, with the Roanoke being given her first shoot action of the game to finish the job.


The Americans are almost there!  They have troops on the Castle, and now just need to unload the fort upgrade from the Enterprise!


Total American domination of the Castle, with their numbers growing by the turn:


Things are considerably calmer north of the American HI.  The Aaron Burr, Hancock, and Albany actually turn away from the southern battle, hearing that it is a complete mess and that the American ships in reserve will be able to hold off the Pirates for considerably longer than what was anticipated in a worst-case scenario.  However, with Pirate-hating abilities, the Flying Fish and Constitution inevitably head towards the battle area. The Franklin may go either way depending on the circumstances. The captured Ranger was finally traded in after being repaired, and USS Lamon comes into play! She's the second submarine launched outside of the Mercenaries after the French hired Nemo and the Nautilus.


Turn 67 begins!  A full, scheduled resource change was necessary!  For the first time in the regular changes, a 1 was rolled for value!  Every resource was worth its face value, while a 6 is now the only value roll to not appear yet.  In addition, the duration was for a whopping 8 turns, tied for the second-longest of the game!


The Pirates hardly manage any damage against the Americans, but put forth 4 new ships from the whirlpool.


Blackbeard's ship is now dead in the water, but if the Americans and English can't combine for 6 hits on their turns, El Dorado can warp the ship to the kingdom next turn using her ability.  At the upper right, USS Destiny has been sunk! However, the little sloop is not large enough to make a lot of room for the Pirate advance, which is completely stuck. The unexpected entry of English warships has only complicated matters further, as the Pirates now face opposition from all sides.


Finally unable to put forth a large squadron at Dead Man's Point, the Pirates still manage to launch 5 new gunships at the end of their turn, though the Snipe will not go to Karkuda.  With immunity to ships within S, the Sister's Rage and Black Arrow will be extremely annoying to the Americans, while the Princess and Morte de Yarborough provide additional cheap firepower.


After a brief lull in the new arrivals, many Pirate ships are poised to enter the whirlpool next turn.  This includes many larger ships that can pack more of a punch than the Pirate ships currently in Karkuda.  However, with such a ludicrously crowded battle area, how many of them will even be able to make the journey anytime soon?  This further proves how effective the American strategy has been: if the Pirates fill Karkuda with their own derelicts which prevent them from getting to the Americans, they may be forced to scuttle those ships (thus losing them for the rest of the game, not a fun thought for any faction) just to make room for new arrivals that can continue the fight.


The Pirate squadron nearly reaches the western end of the Tunnel:


Indeed, you can see the Celtic Fury and other ships from the other side.  The Victoire and Harbinger are still guarding that entrance, while the Akua Lapu slowly ventures into new territory....


With horrendous timing, the Jades find that their island has changed resources from food to textiles!  The new resource change has food at 4 gold apiece and textiles at 2, so the Jades may finally have to look elsewhere for resources in order to continue their gold flow.


O_O  With a megalaunch, the Jades reach deep into their pockets and put forth a big new fleet!  The Barbary Corsairs are here!!


This picture shows all the new ships.  ALL SEVEN BC 4 masted galleys were launched!  They are carrying very effective and diverse crew complements, so they're ready for anything.  Aruj Barbarossa will command the Corsairs (under the command of the Jades of course) from the Nubian Prince.  The Crescent Moon's crew give the Jades a second AA crew in addition to a fast, medical barge lite. The right column contains various other ships, nearly all of which are ready for war.  Their crew complements are also quite optimized, and all BC named crew are now in play. The massive launch costed the Jades 318 gold of the 525 they had, so they still have 207 left! They had 369 saved up but added 156 to that by cashing in 39 food tokens at 4 gold apiece.  They would have spent more but ran out of room to put ships at their HI! To that end, more BC ships are likely coming soon. With only a couple JR and Viking ships left to launch and the independent Mercenaries somewhat having "first dibs" on their own ships, the Jades were almost forced to go to the Corsairs at some point.


The English fire their guns in Karkuda for the first time!  They're not too effective, but the Ark Royal succeeds at a Broadsides Attack to cripple the already derelict Queen Anne's Revenge!


Wow!  Continuing the English policy of exploration through whirlpool travel, HMS Forge takes the Westminster's route to the northern whirlpool of Karkuda!  The English hope to cement an alliance with the French!


England's most daring and experienced whirlpool explorer, the Metal Dragon, takes the plunge once again.  However, the result is awful. A 1 is rolled to emerge from the southeastern whirlpool in the Sea of Allost!  The Zephyr also goes for random travel in an attempt to find new seas, but gets the same result.


Oof!  Just like the Jades, the English get a nasty resource change considering the new value roll.  At Diamond Rock, spices have run out and are replaced by more textiles, the same resource that made the English rich early in the game!


The English are simply in between right now.  Between their point advantage and the current truce, they are not worried about the Spanish.  However, they want revenge on the Pirates. After the Metal Dragon got lucky last turn by discovering the Pirate-American battle, the English have sent some ships there.  However, between the battle area being extremely crowded and it not evidently being the same area where the Pirate HI is, the English are hesitant or unable to send more ships there.  Additional ships are ready to take the plunge, and many options exist for combating the Pirates. They can try to force the issue in southwest Karkuda, or go through the northern whirlpool of Karkuda and try to find the Pirates from there, possibly with French help (the English aren't aware of the Franco-Pirate alliance).  Or, with this turn's result, they can risk the Sea of Allost and send gunships directly into Pirate home waters. Then there's the issue of the Spanish exodus, which the English have a hunch may result in complicated relations going forward....


O_O   The English cash in spices and spend 189 gold on seven ships!!  Showing serious interest in a Pirate beat down, the English invest major money in anti-Pirate activity.  On the left, Governor Lynch, HMS Raven, and Jun Suong all get +1 to cannon rolls against Pirate ships. We know how much Norrington despised Pirates, and his Dauntless is outfitted with some serious firepower and extra weaponry.  On the right, the third 10 master of the game is launched! With Nemo currently blockaded and his Mercs struggling, it's only natural that the Shui Xian's crew would go to the highest bidder. The English crew her with some brilliant options, with Owen's reroll complementing Portland's SAT.  Now that I'm writing this report I realize that CRGO is already in play aboard the Caradoc, so we'll pretend that it's his brother. XD (the Pirates will likely do this with Jack Hawkins since the Jades just got the BC version of him) Woodes Rogers is another anti-Pirate Englishman, while the Hibernia is similarly crewed to take whirlpool travel head-on.  The Swiftsure filled out the points and will patrol the Caribbean.


Of the 7 new ships, 6 are ready for the War against Piracy!  Indeed, it may be called just that if the English declare war on the Pirates.  The SX will get a head start with the Mercenary keyword, but the English gunships will follow with major firepower.  Between this, the English squadron to the south, and the 6 English gunships already near Pirate ships in two different oceans, a major clash between England and Pirates is looking more and more likely.


In a reversal of fortune, the Spanish find luxuries instead of textiles on Paradise Island!  This is incredibly good for the Spanish, who have generally struggled to find consistently valuable resource production from the island, which is their only source of wealth.  In addition, this recent resource change would have favored the English over the Spanish, but with both major Caribbean islands changing, the opposite is now true.


Spanish gunships continue to leave the Caribbean!  The Asesino de la Nave, Granada, and Corazon Dorado appear at the northern Karkuda whirlpool.


At this point the game is getting very "global", with many factions in oceans not native to their HI's.  It's become a complex and intriguing affair, with many more developments still to come.

10/22/2017

The French find that their eastern food island has run out of bananas!  XD


General French operations, with some gunships headed south and the Possession failing to find the Sea of Allost.  LaPlante rolled a 5 to emerge from the southwest Karkuda whirlpool, but since there was no room for the ship to be placed there, the ship simply didn't go anywhere but still rolled (successfully) for damage.  In the middle, the Sunrise Fire S-explored the original French island on the Pirate turn. Off her stern, the French lighthouse island produces luxuries, now the most valuable resource in the game. That island will no doubt see more ships than usual dock at its lone beach in the coming turns.


I purposely left the flash off here, to show the dense forest of masts on the battlefield.  From the area south of Luck Island to the American HI to the Castle in the east, it is nearly a solid block of ships.  O_O


The Americans shot well on their turn, dealing major damage.  The Black Cat and Devil's Kiss have been dismasted, while one more hit on the Ningpo will do the same to that vessel.


The Queen Anne's Revenge sank and Blackbeard is dead!  Well-placed shots from the James Madison and Minuteman flotilla doomed the QAR after she was hit by a BA from the Ark Royal on the English turn.  The other Minuteman flotilla in the area teamed up with the Ghost Walker to dismast the Fuchuan. On the left, the Swamp Fox has gone 2/2 with Broadsides Attacks, her second blast knocking two masts off the Poison Dagger who was then finished off by the Fly.


North of the battle, various maneuvers are carried out despite the logjams.  The Lynx captured the Gilded Monkey, while the Adventurous reached home with the Xiamen's Claws.  The President and Hudson are home for repairs, and the Montezuma and Lenox hope to join them soon.  Those 4 ships are eagerly replaced on the front line by the Septem Maria, Kettering and Quigley. Three VERY intimidating 5 masters are waiting in reserve, but the Pirates are being soundly defeated at this point.  The trend of failed whirlpool attacks has really emerged... the Pirates have had success with a few small Caribbean raids, but Ralph David's attacks in Allost and both battles at the SW Karkuda whirlpool have gone miserably for the aggressors.  In fact, this second Pirate loss may become so embarrassing and one-sided that it may make the Pirates change their policy....


The Enterprise has unloaded the fort upgrade at the Castle!!  The Americans will now be able to launch ships from the Castle as if it were a fort.  However, some repairs still need to be carried out for the Castle to reach its true potential.  The Americans also move their army units S into different positions, further optimizing the defenses.  They now have infantry on almost all the ramparts, and the Colonial Trader will eventually arrive with more.


Preble got his AA roll this turn, and the last action of the turn went to the Springfield of all ships.  The Springfield is a "cheerleader" ship (she gives friendly ships within S +1 to her cannon rolls) not meant for the front lines of battle.  However, the Pirate attack necessitated block ships to stop the Pirate advance early on, and the Americans have done a great job so far despite their occasionally poor shooting.  In this case, a very strange thing happened: the Seminole has the same ability of the Springfield, and is within S of the ship. Therefore the Springfield was able to use her own ability from a different source in her two shots against the Satisfaction, a new Pirate arrival.  Incredibly both shots were 4's, which meant they both hit to knock a mast off the Satisfaction but they would not have hit if not for the Seminole being within S! O_O Just a bizarre happening that would only happen in a game of this size, since those ships are hardly EVER worth the points even in large games with 100+ point build totals.


I will conclude this report with some confessions and give an idea of what to expect going forward.

-With this game ballooning to completely unprecedented heights (over 7,000 total points now I would guess, DOUBLE the previous all-time CG high set in VASSAL Campaign Game 1), I have become less motivated to play turns.  I love the game more than anyone on earth, but a single turn of play is a very intimidating endeavor. It just takes SO LONG to complete a turn, and launches and resource changes only compound that time.

-The game has had an emotional and physical toll on me.  The lack of motivation comes from often starting play as soon as I'm ready to in the morning, and playing nearly non-stop for many hours, sometimes at the rate of 8+ hours a day spent on the game.  The longest battle reports have taken me over 2 hours to write, which means that the game has sometimes resembled an overtime job in terms of the time commitment. On the longest days (mostly just Wednesday and Friday) I would estimate that I've sometimes spent 12-14 hours in a day on this game alone between playing, planning, thinking strategy, writing the battle reports and posting them on all 3 sites and then putting pictures from the day's play on Instagram and BGG.  I've made debatable sacrifices in other areas that I may come to regret if I continue at this current pace.

-The physical toll comes from sitting and kneeling in often cramped positions on the floor for multiple hours a day, as 80+% of the points are concentrated in the Seas of Allost and Karkuda right now.  The inevitable tipping things over and setting them back up again is further made annoying by the sheer scale of the game, as I move 250+ ships in a single round of turns. (there may be over 400 ships in the game by now but the Jade, Cursed, and French battle fleets have been largely inactive for the past handful of turns which helps a bit lol)  Xerecs is the only one who can even remotely relate to what this game has entailed, but even his CG's have been non-solo efforts and none of them have gone over 6,000 points to our knowledge lol. Combine that with the game exceeding even my greatest ambitions (I vaguely thought 5,000 could be possible back in September but now at around 7,000 it's just crazy), and even a player as dedicated as me is now in completely unknown territory.

-The time pressure of trying to finish the game by Thanksgiving has made me worry that I will not be able to reach a satisfying conclusion by then.  As a result, there is a POSSIBILITY that the game will continue past Thanksgiving weekend and into December. O_O I would say the odds of this happening are currently about 50/50.  Once I make a decision on that I will announce it of course. It all depends on how the next 4 weeks go. I'm also working on Thursdays now at a shift that is not conducive to playing, so Thursdays are nearly out for the next 2 weeks (at least), whereas before I had that day almost completely free.  The potential for an extra month of play can also take some stress and pressure off of me and help my life to be a little more balanced compared to going crazy over the game for the next 4 weeks. It could also result in a more satisfying conclusion (last fleet afloat for real this time, but likely still with some artificial resource droughts), which is something I've REALLY struggled to achieve in these physical CG's lol (in fact, not since the RISK game in 2012 has one of my physical CG's concluded appropriately).  So basically, there is a CHANCE that the game could conclude just a few days before Christmas if it gets that far. O_O

Some final notes:

-At 67 turns, this game has exceeded both my Century of the Empires game (62 turns) and Economy Edition (45 turns) for the longest physical campaign game I've played.  Back in September I thought 100 turns was likely, but the sickeningly massive influx of points since Turn 50 has completely made turns take forever so I have no idea what kind of turn count I'll end up with.

-I now have over 1,250 pictures for this game, which is more than double the 454 for Economy Edition.  (which was my previous high for a CG)

10/25/2017

Turn 68 has begun.  

The Pirates pounce on the Metal Dragon and Zephyr!  After those English ships came through the whirlpool closest to the kingdom, the Pirates predictably tried to take them out.  However, the Metal Dragon barely has a mast standing and will likely return to Caribbean waters next turn. This will only serve to make English-Pirate relations even worse than they already were.


In the ridiculously crowded American-Pirate-English battlefield, the Pirates manage to get two 4 masters through the whirlpool and into Karkuda.  The Thirty Tyrants and Jape are back! After being defeated and captured by the Americans in the first battle of this whirlpool, they have returned for revenge.  What's left of Pirate cannons in the area actually shot pretty well this turn, with the Springfield, St. George and Resolution losing masts. Two of the three Minuteman flotillas had their flags knocked off.  In the first Pirate scuttle attempt in this battle, the Devil's Kiss failed her roll. However, the Pirates aren't likely to scuttle their more valuable gunships, since they don't want to lose them for the rest of the game.  It's such a messy logjam right now that some ships on both sides cannot even be given actions on their turn, whether move OR shoot! O_O


El Dorado returns to Allost, as the Pirates don't want to lose her ability.  Her captain informs the waiting Pirates that the battle is going poorly but sheer numbers may help in the long run.  However, with no more room at the whirlpool, these Pirate gunships are stuck here for now.


The Pirates have done it!  The Celtic Fury hoists a ladder from one of her main masts and it reaches the ceiling of the Tunnel!!




Didn't mean for this one to have such a contrast in the foreground vs. background, but the flash made that happen.


The Pirates have the only ship type in the entire game tall enough to reach the top of the Tunnel: a 10 masted junk!  O'Brien's betrayal of Captain Nemo is paying big dividends for Captain Mission, who was stuck in his operations at the Tunnel before she showed up.


I love this picture, since it's from a rare (and difficult) angle and really shows the scale and size of the Tunnel.  It's a big and imposing natural structure, and this picture does it justice better than most of the others. Imagine being in the crow's nest on one of these large sailing ships and seeing what you see here!  O_O At the left you can also see some of the Pirate ships waiting at the whirlpool.


The Jades spend all of their 231 remaining gold on 14 new Barbary Corsair ships!


Here are the impressive crew setups on the various vessels.  At this point the Jades have launched nearly all the Jade Rebellion, Viking, and Barbary Corsair ships in the game.


A VERY impressive fleet, which also makes the western half of Allost more crowded than ever!  Perhaps they will soon recommence hostilities against the Cursed?


I actually like this picture better since I find it more impressive.  The Jades certainly have the prettiest and most colorful fleet, and this is a great shot that shows what the minor factions are capable of.


If things go as planned I hope to play a bunch on Friday and Saturday!  I also hope to do another point count somewhat soon, but I'm trying to catch it on a peak that I'm not sure about yet.

10/26/2017

Theme music for this short BR!

The Cursed are up next!  A plan is revealed! The romance of the seas has returned!!!!!  Davy Jones copies Calypso's ability!! :shock:


After failing for a couple turns, the roll is finally successful!  A whirlpool appears within L of the Guichuan at the Roost!!


Now the main question would be: where will the other whirlpool be placed??  It must be within L of a wild island... with the Eye, the Cursed can see everything on all the oceans!!  Therefore they know where to put the whirlpool near any wild island they choose!!


With a frothing swirl of seawater, the second whirlpool is created by Davy Jones/Calypso in the Sea of Karkuda!!  It's near the French food island and almost right at the entrance to the Harbor!! O_O


Shal-Bala is here!!  Flying all the way to the Sea of Karkuda, the dragon arrives with a hideous screech!!


Beating its huge wings and launching itself at French ships, Shal-Bala tosses them away from the whirlpool!!


The dragon raises its wings in triumph, with most of the French ships out of the way...


... uh oh... this could only mean one thing....  O_O


THE CURSED ARE HERE!!!!!!!!  O_O In an utter shock to the French, the Cursed have arrived in the Sea of Karkuda!!  No less than 10 ships come through the whirlpool, not counting the Silver Coffin flotilla.  Fantasma himself leads the squadron from the Divine Dragon!


From inside the Harbor walls: the French have a Cursed Invasion right on their doorstep!!




Using the Kraken ability to "chain" between ships, Terrox surrounds the Geographe!


In a flash the kraken is nearly inside the Harbor walls!


Terrox's advance makes room for more of the Cursed horde!  The Leviathan, Nightmare, and Hellfire emerge from Allost, making it a 13-ship squadron that has arrived on this turn.


At Broken Horn Island, the Cursed are elated to find food instead of lumber!  With the current resource values (lumber 1 and food 4), this will certainly help their launching efforts.  At the upper right, many more gunships and creatures are preparing to take the plunge next turn....


10/28/2017

Unfortunately I wasn't able to play as much as I wanted today and yesterday.

The English do some damage in Karkuda:


Spending all of their 26 gold, the English launch yet another anti-Pirate ship!  HMS Victoria is one of England's finest warships and carries Myngs' Marauders, which will help the ship shoot through others with those great L-range guns.  That ability is especially helpful in giant campaign games with densely packed battle areas.


In the Caribbean, English warships make their way towards the whirlpool:


The Spanish attack!!!  The Santa Ana slips around the northeast corner of the Castle and sets the Gold Eagle on fire!  


The Santo Columba shoots at American infantry on the Castle!  One of the units is taken out, and the Spanish use S-boarding to eliminate another!!


THE SPANISH CLAIM THAT IT'S THEIR CASTLE!!!!  That is the reason for all this!! After the French discovered the Castle, they had a hunch that it was a Spanish Castle abandoned in Karkuda, and they sent Guy LaPlante to the Caribbean (after finding out the Spanish were there from the English) to tell them about it.  The Spanish were extremely angry when they found out that a faction had begun any kind of operations at the Castle. Now that they have arrived on the scene, they are going ballistic. The Castle is indeed an old abandoned Spanish castle from long ago. However, the Spanish see it as rightfully theirs forever.  They want to take it from the Americans at all costs!! Here you can see three more gunships arriving in the area, with the Acorazado and Serpiente the latest ships coming through the whirlpool.


The Spanish spend all of their 20 gold to launch La Resolucion with a captain, helmsman, and firepot specialist.


The French have recently dropped off some infantry units on their islands in the far east:


But you don't care about that, do you?!  It's time for BATTLE!! The Geographe starts the French combat phase of their turn with a paltry 1/5 (with reroll) against Terrox:


Other French ships fare better!  The Cyclops, Madness, and Demon Gate lose a mast each to the Glaive, Carcajou, and Sabre!


French ships tag team the Bloody Blade!  The Corse is given Deleflote's action to dismast the ship!  Shots from the Musarde and Corse also take 2 masts off the Divine Dragon.  However, that is about all the French could muster on their turn, as most of their gunships are near the sub hideout or The Flat.


But they're on the way!  Here you can see about 6 French gunships headed north as they hear the emergency shots fired near the Harbor.  Gaston is willing to cut the blockading squadron at the hideout in half, but stays on blockade duty since he knows the value of his admiral ability.


Even in this time of emergency, French cargo ships get resources home since it's the best thing they can do.  The French do have some solid army units on the outermost docks, but they're not in range here. The French will likely try to employ a stalling strategy similar to the Americans in the southwest, setting up block ships while waiting for powerful help to arrive.


Given how few cannons they had available in the area, the French fought well after the surprise Cursed invasion shocked them.  The Corse was especially key, as her 8 shots with Deleflote did most of the damage against the Bloody Blade and Divine Dragon.




The French are finally forced to mobilize!!  Many of their gunships at The Flat turn around and head for the Harbor!


Lenoir has half of his epic line of 5 masted capital ships turn east.  Five 5 masters will head towards the Harbor, with five staying on duty at The Flat.  In addition, at the right you'll notice that the entire 10-gunship "backup" squadron has also turned around.  The French must combat the Cursed threat!


With five 5 masters, the Hercule, and a few support ships, the French defensive line is still strong.  However, they must now divert their forces to save their home. It will be interesting to see if Spanish ships get in the way of the French (they already have a bit just south of The Flat), and if that worsens the somewhat strong relationship between those two factions.


Lenoir speaks with the captain of HMS Forge, and the French hastily agree to an alliance with the English!  I will say that this was a spur of the moment thing, and it's not exactly a strong bond right now. However, we'll see how it develops over time.




Making their way towards the battle area are various French gunships.  One thing's for sure: if the Cursed don't retreat soon, the Harbor entrance is about to get VERY crowded!  


The entirety of French operations:


This was actually a bit of a premature report.  The French turn isn't technically over. Combining some food with lots of saved up gold, the French have 441 gold to spend.  O_O This is part of the reason I had to stop here, since I didn't have time today to launch a lot of stuff. However, clearly the French will launch at the Harbor, and possibly even at The Flat as well.  They will be well-prepared to defend their homeland!

Going forward, I must warn that this glacial pace will continue, at least for now.  It's doubtful I'll be able to play much this week, and possibly not at all next Friday-Monday.  However, there is clearly a ton of developments just around the corner! Let me know what you think of the game so far, and possibly who you're rooting for!  (even rank the factions in your winning order preference with reasons why if you want)

10/30/2017

Finished the French turn with their megalaunch!  There are actually five more ships that aren't pictured here that got launched as well.  Overall the French spent 273 of their 441 gold, so they still have 168 left. Similar to the Americans, they are finally starting to run out of ships to launch!  You can tell how desperate they are to hold off the Cursed, with lots of gunships put forth.


16 new gunships substantially increase French defenses at the Harbor!  Now we'll eventually see what the Cursed can do on their turn.


10/31/2017

This report is for the big American turn of Turn 68!

The Americans' actions signal a shift in their strategy!  The Speedy Return captures the Lucky Seven, who doesn't get wrecked on the reef.  Barring any crazy Pirate moves that interfere, the Philadelphia will warp the Lucky Seven to the American HI next turn.  At the left, getting the LS out of the way allowed the James Madison to turn south and begin towing the Georgetown.


This exposes the JM and Georgetown to Pirate cannons without firing on the American turn, but it should be worth the risk since the Pirates only have 2 masts standing on those 3 nearby ships.


More captures as the Shark tows the Poison Dagger!  The Swamp Fox missed a Broadsides Attack that would have sunk the Thrud, while the Fly hit 2/2 to take a mast off the Full Moon.


Commodore David Porter gives the BA order, and the Emerald hits!  This severely damages the already-derelict Silverback. At the left, the Fuchuan has been hit 3 times as a derelict.  The Pirates were already struggling in this battle, and now the Americans are really putting the hurt on them by capturing some derelicts and pulverizing the hulls of others.


The Lenox and Montezuma come home for repairs, while 4 other ships carry out repairs.  At the bottom of the frame, the Minerva and Gruesome were also captured!


Check out the new-look middle of the fight!  With the Gruesome and Minerva out, both sides will have more room to maneuver and shoot.  The Americans immediately take advantage of this, with the Kettering cancelling the Calchas' ability.  The Calchas was sunk by a combination of 4 shots from different ships. In addition, the Ningpo was dismasted by the Minuteman flotilla.  Furthering the successful turn, the Quigley and Blackwatch teamed up to dismast the Satisfaction!


This time with the flash, showing the chaotic nature of a battle at sea:


The Americans respond to Spanish aggression!  The Gold Eagle used her reverse captain ability to score a hit on the Santa Ana before moving away to the Castle and extinguishing her flames.  The York followed up with 2 hits of her own to damage the Spanish flagship. On a rampart of the Castle itself, an artillery unit is moved into position.  At the left, the United States lumbers towards the battle area.




With this birds-eye view you can glimpse more army unit movements.  The Americans are sending most of their infantry and artillery at the Castle towards the northeastern walls and ramparts to combat the Spanish!


Nearly from the infantry perspective!  I will continue to use some enhanced ranges from higher altitude positions with the Castle, though it's not nearly as tall as Diamond Rock of course.  The northeasternmost wall of the Castle is indeed cracked a bit.


A meeting of the minds!  The captain of the Pequod speaks with Amiral Stephan Dupuy of the Ville de Paris.  Unlike some of the other conversations, I can tell you what they talked about. The American fleet lined up opposite the Spanish line would like to help their comrades in what could become a Battle for the Castle.  However, to get around the northern side of the Castle, the French would have to move out of the way. The negotiations were tense and brief, and tensions between the Americans and French are rising a bit. A state of war does exist between the two factions, though they still have an indefinite period of truce after the Second Fight at The Flat.


The French line defending The Flat (and now blocking American access to the east part of the Castle from the northwest) has been severely weakened by the departures heading east to combat the Cursed threat.


Most of the American fleet, with the situation in the southwest continuing to be quite one-sided thus far.  The Americans captured a lot of Pirate ships this turn, which may force the Pirates' hand to either retreat or send more ships to the battlefield now that some space has opened up at the whirlpool.


The Americans spend all 121 gold they have to launch 7 new gunships!  You can kind of tell they're running out of ships, as they dip into one masted sloops for gunship support.  However, the ships are very well-crewed and all of them carry firepot specialists! You can probably guess where the Americans launched them from...


The first launch at the Castle!  All 7 new ships come into play at the Castle, which had a "fort upgrade" dropped off at it so ships and crew could be launched there.  This will inject some life into the American resistance to stop the Spanish from retaking the Castle that once belonged to them. It's worth noting that there is a limited amount of space at the inner harbor area of the Castle walls, so no more than 10 ships could be launched from the Castle in a turn if it was empty.  Here the Gold Eagle, Bartlett, and Atlanta were already in the way in 3 of the areas, but the Americans also ran out of gold anyway. Still, the massive size and powerful position the Castle holds could be an interesting dynamic going forward, especially since nearly all the factions are connected in some way by now....  (Americans vs. Spanish, Americans vs. French, French allied with Pirates, French vs. Cursed, Pirates vs. English, etc etc.)


I will say that the upgraded "forts" (including the Castle) cannot have army units hired there.  That rule was not in play earlier when the Pirates brought some units into play at Dead Man's Point, but I intend to use it for the rest of the game.  I want the army units to come from the home base since it makes more sense. Besides, the Americans found the Castle abandoned, so it's not like random soldiers just started coming out of the woodworks when they got there even with money paid out.  XD

This is just a look at how detailed, complex, and intense a single faction turn can be!  Imagine a whole round of all eight factions! Now you see why it takes so long!

11/1/2017

Turn 69 begins as the game reaches its third calendar month!  (it started in early September)

Forgot to do it until this new round of turns, but the Metal Dragon escaped from Allost on the last English turn.  The Zephyr is captured, while the Stoneheart continues to head west.


The always-chaotic battlefield in southwest Karkuda!


The Pirates actually had a very good turn here for the first time in a while, and similar to the American turn, more progress was seen at the battle than usual.  The Full Moon tows the Thrud out of harm's way, while the Zanzibar knocks a mast off the Fly with 2/2 shooting. After the Dolphin sank a Minuteman flotilla, the Jaguar's Spirit was able to get to the bow of the Fuchuan and initiated towing.  The fresh Jape shot 2/2 to set the James Madison (OE) alight, dooming the ship.


The Bonny Kate towed the Silverback, and a new Pirate ship arrives from the Sea of Allost!  The Bruja is back! The Bruja was captured and later traded in by the Americans, and now the Pirates have her back to get revenge.  The Satisfaction used her shipwright to repair a mast, and the Bruja towed the Ningpo. However, where did the Silverback and Ningpo go??


Through the whirlpool and back into the Sea of Allost!  The ships were on the Karkuda whirlpool after being moved from the tows, and the Pirates had them sent home for repairs!  This could be a brilliant strategy by the Pirates, who are appearing more lively than they have recently in terms of the American battle.


Through the magic of chain towing, the Silverback and Ningpo are nearly back to Dead Man's Point where they can repair.  However, where did the Obago, Pride, Ballista and others go?


To the northern whirlpool in the Sea of Karkuda!  Having generally lost at least the first phase of the battle against the Americans, the Pirates are trying a new strategy.  They will try to recruit French help and come at the Americans from a different angle! The captains of the various Pirate gunships speak with Lenoir, who is in high demand after agreeing to an alliance with the English via the captain of HMS Forge.  Lenoir is caught in between: a very complex situation forces him to give the Pirates a non-answer for now, but the French ships west of The Flat will at least get out of the way so the 6+ Pirate gunships can attack the Americans if they want. The French want to support the Pirates' efforts against the Americans, but the Cursed invasion has put them on the defensive.  Things have been made more complicated with the recent Spanish incursion to the Castle, which has escalated Franco-American tensions right near this area. In addition, the situation is even more complex than I can divulge here!


Pirate ships advance even further into the Tunnel, with the Panama Sun and Ranger preparing to transfer infantry units to the Celtic Fury....


11/6/2017

Sheer Chaos, the likes of which you have never seen

Get the popcorn ready, get your snacks, and get hyped!  XD

Play has resumed in force!!  The game has seen an absolute EXPLOSION on this Turn 69 that rivals any other single turn in any campaign game!  Prepare yourself for the carnage! The scary part is, it will likely only increase dramatically in the future... O_O

The Jade Rebels are after the Pirates in the turn order, and they start their turn with an attack!!  The Wiglaf nearly dismasts the Jikininki!


Broken Horn Island is under attack again!!  Eight Jade gunships head west as the area southwest of the Roost descends into chaos once more.


(theme music begins)

Here you can see the damage done to the Death's Anchor, Pale Moon, Executioner, Hades' Realm and Sickle:


The Huginn dismasts the captured Brandywine and the Grendel surges forward...


... to capture the ship!  The Brandywine has now been owned by 3 different factions in this game.  Also notice the other Jade/Viking ships moving north, though that's almost literally just the tip of the iceberg...


O_O  
ATTACK!!!!
 The entire Jade battle fleet surges forward in an epic display of seamanship and naval power!!


Though some are many turns away, I count over 50 gunships either in battle with the Cursed or headed towards them!!  O_O


I wanted to take some extra pictures to show off the color and diversity among the JR and BC sails, and I think this is the best shot I got:


Previously cooped up by territorial boundaries, the Jade Rebellion war fleet has begun heading straight for the Cursed!  Jade Rebel troops watch as dozens of beautiful new Corsair galleys depart the home island:


A nice look at the BC 4 masters:


It seems rather likely that an EPIC battle is about to take place!!!




The Jades attacked for a simple reason: the Cursed look as weak as they have in quite some time.  From afar, the Jades witnessed the exodus as Calypso allowed a bunch of Cursed gunships to go through the new whirlpool and into the Sea of Karkuda.  The Jades don't know about the Sea of Karkuda, but they assume the Cursed have gone off and may not be back. After coming close to a full-out attack, they have finally decided to carry out plans for one now that the Cursed don't have as many gunships around the Roost.


A view from the Roost itself, as the Cursed see what's coming....


A rare view just north of Broken Horn Island, looking east:


A forest of lateen sails in the distance:


A nice and similarly rare shot looking east across the Sea of Allost at a low angle:


And that is it for the Jade turn!  Prepare yourself!! XD

El Fantasma, captain of the Divine Dragon and current commander of the Cursed Extermination Force: "... bring up the weapon..."  
A historical artifact of great value and mythology is brought to Fantasma's helm.  Fantasma offers a rare smile before his skeletal face turns to a contorted frown of unrivaled malice as he points the "weapon" at the nearby French fleet...
[card="80874"]Neptune's Trident!!!![/card]


With the power of the sea, the Trident unleashes a massive tidal wave that projects from the Divine Dragon!!


OH MY GOD!!!  The wave is fired into the Harbor!!  Using my L+L+L ruler and the white S straw, I was able to figure out the damage path of the tidal wave.




Before the damage assessment:


These were taken for maximum effect, as I played the Trident normally and didn't sink anything outright.


From the Cursed view, as the wave crashes into tons of French ships and into the Harbor area itself:


The temporary result of the UT, which is clearly wicked powerful in campaign games with so many ships around....


O_O


DEVASTATION IS UNLEASHED!!!!!!


O_O


Now we can properly assess the damage.  The Jeux was not only dismasted, but also thrown into the Harbor wall due to the lower tonnage of the ship.


The Felicite is dismasted and nearly capsizes:


As you probably noticed by now, the wave attack actually split one of the docks in half!!!!  O_O Dock destruction!!


Inevitably, various infantry who were preparing to fight the Cursed died in the blast.  Somehow an artillery unit survived on the outer side of the dock, but three infantry units and one artillery unit were lost between the dock breaking apart and the splinters and spars flying through the air.


In total, 15 masts were ruined as a result of the wave caused by Fantasma's wielding of Neptune's Trident.  Eight different ships were damaged.


The dock costed the French 10 gold, and I'm still figuring out the house rule around rebuilding it.  They will be able to purchase a new dock for the same standard cost, but I think they will need to clear the wreckage first, which will take at least a turn here even with maximum cleanup efforts deployed.  Of course, with hostile Cursed ships basically inside the Harbor itself, the recovery process will likely take a while.


IMMENSE WRECKAGE, with debris strewn everywhere:


Of course, the Divine Dragon couldn't sustain the damage output of having 8 ships affected.  The Cursed knew the risk and decided it was worth it. Looks like they're right! XD With 8 ships affected, I did 8 "damage" to the DD, with 4 masts eliminated and 4 "hits" to the hull (she would still need 8 more hits on the hull to sink due to the sinking house rule).


With Fantasma's ship suddenly out of action, the Cursed needed to find a way to extricate the DD and avoid losing her to the French.  Never fear, the Hellfire is here! XD The DD is towed, but where did she go? If you've read about the Pirate-American battle elsewhere in Karkuda, it should come as no surprise...


... as the Divine Dragon and Bloody Blade are warped back to Allost via "whirlpool towing"!  This is now a tactic employed by two factions, and looks to be a true strategy (at least for this game).  Here you can also see the Cursed counterattack against the Jades!


Fear worked well here, with the Fenrir and Glorious Treasure being hit by the ability.  The Executioner was effective, setting the Glorious Treasure aflame.


It looks as though the JR-Cursed War is back in full swing!!


The Monkey's Paw goes a pitiful 0/5, but the Asgard takes damage from the icewreck (being moved L into it) and the Sickle.  Shal-Bala returns to the Sea of Karkuda in order to guard the latest Cursed launch: Namazu. O_O Namazu is a sea monster from the unreleased Return to Savage Shores set with an ability similar to the Neptune's Trident UT.  After using the Eye to see the incredible devastation wreaked by the Trident, the Cursed are very impressed with its potential for continual warfare use. You know what that means: a less disposable source of tidal wave attacks!  O_O Combine that with copiers Behemoth and Davy Jones, and the Cursed have exclusive access to weapons of incredible power right now.


The Cursed turn was actually quite strategic and well-thought-out.  They purposely did most of their activities in Karkuda to see what they needed to send there from Allost.  The Banshee's Wail is the ship that came forth to "tow"/send the Bloody Blade back to Allost. The Locker and Pyre have returned to Allost as well, as the Cursed realize they cannot win both fights in two oceans at the same time.


The wave blast was not all the damage sustained by the French!  After most of the operations in Allost, the Cursed turned back to Karkuda to finish their assault.  Terrox walloped the Geographe for 2 masts on 4/8 shooting, while the Hellfire dismasted the Musarde and Leviathan took a mast off the Dijon.  Calim has pinned Le Petit Dauphin, while the Nightmare (at the right) partially makes up for her previous performances, which have been awful.  On this turn the Nightmare shot 4/5 to damage 3 different ships! (Petit Dauphin, Marianne, Richelieu)


Looking directly north, here is the last picture from this EPIC Cursed turn.  The Silver Coffin shot a mast off Le Lyon, while at the right the Glaive and Baionnette took slight damage.


At the end of their turn, the Cursed let out a bombshell.  They told the French something. Fantasma sent a messenger boat over to the French fleet, which was reeling from the wave attack and continual cannon fire/tentacle whipping.  The Cursed revealed a HUGE development: the Pirates put them up to it. O_O :shock: This was the deal with the Devil.

The deal was as follows: If the Pirates hire Calypso, the Cursed can use Davy Jones and/or Behemoth to copy her for the rest of the game, on the condition that the Cursed use Calypso's ability to launch a full-scale attack on the French.

O_O
A huge secret is revealed!  Previously known only to the Pirates and the Cursed (the Pirates came up with the idea), the French now know of the deal.  Obviously this is extremely important, as the Pirates and the French are allies!!!! However, this is arguably one of the greatest agreements in naval history.  

The Pirates see the French as one of their biggest long-term rivals.  With whirlpool travel, the Pirates know about the oceans more than any faction other than the Cursed, who have the Eye of course.  However, the Pirates are generally aware that there are 4 "mega factions": Pirates, Cursed, French, and Americans. The Pirates already have a bitter war against the Americans.  If they continue that, they may be too weak to take on the French and/or Cursed afterwards. Thus, a "deal with the devil" to pit the other two largest factions against each other!!

From my document where I store the BR's and faction plans/etc: "The Pirates pull off a huge masterstroke of grand strategy, weakening two huge rival fleets with one deal while simultaneously able to focus on their other rival."

With that we move to the Caribbean factions, the English and Spanish!  The 4 English gunships in the Sea of Karkuda have a great turn, dealing damage to 4 different Pirate ships.  (including a successful BA from the Ark Royal to the Thirty Tyrants)


I must say HMS Victoria is a bit of a favorite of mine.  She sails out with some other English gunships, while the King John and Westminster take crew replacements aboard.  (hired with cashed in spices from the Antelope) In the background, Admiral Thomas Gunn stands guard northeast of Diamond Rock with a squadron of gunships.  


The English battle fleet makes their way towards the whirlpool!  


The Spanish continue to attack the Americans at the Castle!  They will try to reclaim what is rightfully theirs!! Here the Santa Ana, Vaccaro's flagship of the faction, rakes the Kentucky by the bows and purposely boxes the three American ships in.  Although the SA will be exposed to considerable fire from those ships on the American turn, Vaccaro positioned the ship to block those ships from getting out and attacking other Spanish ships as well.  Vaccaro now has some good backup too, with the Santo Columba sailing around the northeastern edge of the Castle and going 3/3 to hit with her musketeer and firepot specialist, setting the York ablaze!




Whoa!!  The Granada blasts away at the old and weakened northeastern wall of the Castle, and her cannon balls find their mark!!  Shots shatter through the old structure, and a huge hole is ripped open! In addition the Granada carries a firepot specialist and the Castle is now on fire!!!  O_O






Through the smoke and rubble you can glimpse the Gold Eagle:




However, with all the troops on the Castle, the Americans will likely be able to put the fires out soon.


The Corazon Dorado uses her reroll ability to get Dominick Freda's SAT, allowing her to speed into the area at S+L+S+S+L+S!  She hits twice on each action, knocking a mast off the York and United States.


The Americans are surprised by the speed and ferocity of the Spanish onslaught...


... and there's more coming!!  Six Spanish gunships in Karkuda have yet to reach the battle area, including three fresh from the Caribbean whirlpool.


With that we move to the Sea of Karkuda factions!

The Mercenaries are back!  The doors to the submarine hideout open, and five submarines zoom out!  The Mercs have launched the Terror and Barracuda since we last saw them.  You may notice dice on a few of the French ships. I have amended the no ram damage rule so that submarines can do damage while ramming, but it counts as a "hit" if the roll is successful and therefore follows the 2 hits per mast rule for elimination.  However, I may just go back and change it to no ram damage of any kind. XD


THE FRENCH ATTACK!!!!  Reigniting their war with the Americans, the French finally break the indefinite period of truce and let loose their line of battle west of The Flat!  This attack is the result of a shared interest the French and Spanish have. As you saw earlier, the French line from the northern wall of the Castle to the northern edge of Karkuda is blocking American gunships from assisting against the Spanish on the eastern side of the Castle.  The Americans really want to hold the Castle, and since the French and Americans are still at war, the French assumed the Americans would attack the French on their own turn, in an attempt to break the French line and help out their comrades against the Spanish.


As a result, the French felt that they needed to attack!  It was a preemptive strike, designed to knock the Americans off their guard and deny American help against the Spanish, who are fast becoming a solid French ally.  I told you the game had become very complex, and this turn is really showing it!

Here the Monaque hits the Sioux and shoots American infantry off the Castle ramparts.  The Ville de Paris has set the Pequod ablaze. However, this was just the beginning of French combat operations on their turn....


As you now see more ships get in action!  After MANY turns of just sitting within shooting distance of each other, the French and American lines of battle west of The Flat are finally forced into contact with each other.  The Hercule dismasted the Buffalo, while the Gaule set the Yankee aflame and the Mont Blanc flotilla damaged the Paul Revere. However, this picture was purposely taken before the devastating Le Superbe was given an action, to show the various ship-to-ship battles starting up.


Blam!  The Superbe gets a sac action courtesy of Capitaine Arathiel and a member of his "buffet" (an oarsman of course).  She moves south and then north, toppling a handful of masts. The damage she does includes a mast from USS Albany, a ship that is not in range of any other French ship yet but was hit by the Superbe's L-range guns with the use of her ability to shoot through other ships.  The Neptune and Martinique are last to shoot here, with the Paul Revere dismasted by the latter. The Hancock, Peacock, and Aaron Burr all take damage as well.


At long last, some of the powerful French 5 masters show their full strength!  This renewal of war has left the American squadron in bad shape, but the Americans have both resiliency and one of the biggest fleets in the game.  Here you can see how devastating the attack was:


With new knowledge that the Pirates were behind the Cursed attack at the Harbor, the French break the alliance and attack the Pirates!!!!  The 6 Pirate gunships who arrived this very turn to recruit French help against the Americans are viciously attacked by the vengeful French!! The Pride is the only ship lucky enough to escape damage.


Lenoir himself joins the fray!  Amiral Louis Cartier and Jordan Dumas of the Delacroix join him for more 5 masted French firepower!!  The Delight, Ballista, Centurion and Obago lose two masts each, meaning they've each been hit at least 4 times on this turn, showing the accuracy of French gunnery this turn, now driven by anger and vengeance.  At the bottom, the Conquerant got her EA to circle around the Spanish ships and double back to unleash her firepower (literally!) at the Obago!!


The flamestrike cannon ignites the Obago!


Total chaos at the Harbor!!  O_O


The French begin recovery efforts while fighting the Cursed at the same time.  The French had a mixed bag of results in this eastern battle, with most ships going something like 0/4 or 2/2 on the same average cannon ranks.  The Nightmare was particularly hard-hit, sustaining two blazes as French ships surrounded the ghostly 4 master. At the upper left, the Grand Vainqueur has moved to an adjacent dock for repairs since the destroyed dock is no longer considered a dock for launching and repairing purposes.  The dock is partially sinking, so the Afrique loads the lone artillery unit left on it before it can sink or drift away. At the bottom left, the Republique has begun towing the Musarde and shoots at the Hellfire. Between the catastrophic nature of the Neptune's Trident attack, the current Cursed ships/kraken in the Harbor itself, and a surplus of ships in general, the French have a near-impossible logjam to sort out.  A few ships are heading to the back for repairs, but that leaves the newer gunships with no space to sail out.


Just outside the Harbor walls, the French have some trouble connecting on their shots.  The Baionnette and Bonne Chance went a combined 1/6 or 0/6 to leave the Juggernaut with all 4 masts still standing.  However, the Demon Gate, Cyclops and Silver Coffin all sustained damage. With the help of some stuck gold runners, the French have surrounded the Cursed at their whirlpool entrance location.


On the other side of the whirlpool, the French do reasonable damage.  The Cursed are horribly outnumbered, and with war brewing again near the Roost, it's unlikely any reinforcements will come as planned.


The whole Harbor situation.  The Cursed have dealt a serious blow, but a numbers disadvantage could mean a French victory.


With the flash this time.  The Cursed sea creatures are still healthy, so the Cursed have some staying power in this mess of an area if they decide not to retreat.


Try to make sense of it:    XD


The French are reeling but have the ships and firepower to pull themselves out of this mess:




At the far left, the Bonifacio in particular is just STUCK as a result of this mess.  Her injured crew are laboring to remove huge chunks of the wooden dock off the deck of the ship, which has only one mast remaining.  At the top, some of the French gunships launched last turn may take a LONG time to get out of the Harbor.


Chaos and carnage!


The French are flocking to their lighthouse island, as luxuries are currently the most valuable resource.  At the right and top, the French have so many gunships available that many will not even be needed to combat the Cursed...


... which is why the French were able to send so many to attack the Pirates.


As the Obago burns, this turn allows us to see the full might of French power.  They are now involved in THREE battles at once! One against the Americans west of The Flat, one against the devious Pirates, and one against the Cursed at the Harbor itself.


Here we see a very rare example of combat that somewhat follows the historical line-of-battle strategy.  It almost never shows up in Pirates games, but here it was organically produced when two factions lined up gunships to defend their territory.


The French have the upper hand with the first strike, and we'll see if they can break the American line.


Even with a much-reduced squadron, the French have plenty of firepower to defend The Flat with!


The two cheerleader ships were hardly needed, and the Soleil Royal is not in action yet:


I was sad to see the Paul Revere dismasted, but at least it was at the guns of a worthy opponent: Le Superbe is another of my favorite ships.


Looking from the west at the lines of battle:


The French are beautiful as well as powerful:


The Pequod is surrounded as American masts fall all over the battlefield:




The French situation, showing all three battles:




I thought this shot was particularly good, as you can now see the battle at the Castle as well:


Karkuda is simply a HOTSPOT of activity right now!


Finally, time for the American turn!!

The Americans strike back hard!!  The Spanish flagship is nearly dismasted and a fire has broken out!  At the right, the Americans can't really get to the Santo Columba yet, but the loss of the Santa Ana could prove disastrous for the Spanish.


Just to the south, the Corazon Dorado suffers a similar fate!  No less than five different American gunships gang up to blast the ship to pieces.  7 hits are scored, with just one more needed to dismast the ship. However, the firepot landed by the Sea Serpent may do that on its own.


The Americans do what they can against the French, and it's surprisingly effective!  THREE French 5 masters have been set on fire! The Neptune, Monaque, and Ville de Paris are all in trouble from the flames.


The Congress used her first action to tow the Buffalo out of her way and knock a mast off the Hercule.  She was later given Preble's AA (a good turn for it!) to knock another mast off. The northern/middle part of the American line was too shattered to put up much of a fight, with the Yankee going 0/2 and the Paul Revere rowing away at S+S.  Notice the damage marker on the Superbe's quarterdeck though - the American artillery cannon stationed at the lumber island shot and hit for the first time!




At the heart of the spirited American resistance!  The Hancock and Peacock team up to set the Neptune aflame, while the Sioux and Overton do the same to the Monaque.  The Pequod really proved her worth, using a musketeer and cannoneer to hit enough shots to not only get through the Ville de Paris' defensive ability, but land a firepot as well!

The Albany had the opposite day at the cannons, as her fire shot backfired to set her aflame.  

From the American artillery on top of the Castle looking northwest:


Of course, this view should probably be obscured by the gunsmoke and the smoke rising from the burning ships!


As impressive as the French line of capital ships is, the Americans managed to put a dent in it with their counterattack.


The hottest part of the fight!


The Americans continue their logistics near the long-running southwestern battle.  Out of range and with the SCS James Madison proving to be a surprisingly valuable multipurpose ship, the Speedy Return leaves the area.  She will head for the Castle to repair, but between the Spanish incursion and the massive width of the Double Catamaran ship type, she may be out of luck for now.  Speaking of the Spanish, the Enterprise is headed there since the Pirate battle is too crowded and the Americans will likely win that one. At the lower left, the James Madison dismasts the Freedom with the help of the Hannah being within S.  The Vermont has taken up towing duty of the Georgetown, while the Hornet and Mohican are leaving the Castle to assist against the Spanish. The Atlanta and Bartlett have dropped off their army units and now have nothing to do. For now they will guard the southern approach to the Castle (probably a good idea with how crazy the game is getting and how aggressive the French and Spanish are lol) and likely receive captains when the Americans launch again.


The Satisfaction has been dismasted and captured, though many American gunships (especially in the middle of this picture) are unable to be given move or shoot actions as a result of the close-quarters action.


The Americans deal severe damage to the Bruja, Thirty Tyrants and Jaguar's Spirit.  The Bonny Kate was captured but has already been chain-towed nearly out of the picture.


The Fly and Shark team up to dismast the Full Moon, as the Pirates are denied getting a foothold even in the far southwest area by Luck Island.


Here you can see the Bonny Kate along with some other captured Pirate ships.


The Philadelphia warped home the Lucky Seven, while the Lenox, Montezuma, and Springfield finish or start repairs.  The Concordia may leave the area to join one of the other battles, either against the French or Spanish. At the top, some American cargo ships head north for metals as their lumber island near The Flat is now not only less valuable, but also in trouble from the French.


But Commodore Preble has something to say about that!  He pilots the President east, and is joined by two other nice 4 masted schooners, the Saratoga and Hudson.


The French may have gained the upper hand by striking first, but American reinforcements are on the way!


That is about all for the developments on this epic Turn 69, but I took some more pictures just to fully document the destruction.

To recap:

Two Spanish ships have been set aflame, while the Castle itself has been damaged and burns a bit:


The ultra-powerful squadron of French 5 masters did huge damage to the American line of battle, but American gunnery has made some of those French capital ships finally seem mortal with no less than three separate firepot hits:


The Pirate-American battle is still the largest in the game by the number of ships involved, with carnage stretching from the southwestern tip of the Castle to the southwesternmost point in Karkuda:


The Americans are certainly winning but the Pirates certainly aren't giving up!


Naturally I did forget to mention something else that happened: the Louisiana succeeded at destroying another reef!  This makes passage from the American HI to the Castle (and vice-versa) easier. At the right, notice the Intrepid and Franklin heading towards the battle against the French.  The French aren't the only faction capable of sustaining three separate battles at once....


At the southwestern whirlpool, it just so happens that the masts have been falling on top of each other for many turns now, to the point where that pile in the middle is about 5 masts high.  O_O You can almost see the gunners on the decks of the Ark Royal and Thirty Tyrants trading Broadsides Attacks:


Shattered timber, shredded sails, and slain sailors now characterize Command the Oceans:


Total carnage, with dozens of masts littering the battlefield:


The Sea of Karkuda, with all FIVE simultaneous battles visible:


I got these next few shots by sitting back from the game a bit and zooming in.  I like that you can see a lot of what's happening, but it's at a nice angle in between the closeups and high-altitude shots.

This one gives a nice view of the Mercenary activities and the Spanish battle, with all three French battles still visible in the background:


The southwestern corner of Karkuda, with a forest of chaos in the densest portion.  The Chesapeake takes a shortcut through the Castle but the Enterprise must go around.  It will be interesting to see if the Americans can hit the French in between The Flat and the Harbor if they defeat the Spanish and go north around the Castle.


However, this might be the most stunning scene of all so far.  O_O (even though you can hardly see the dock destruction!)


What on earth could happen next??


Between the possible sinkings that could occur soon and the various crew eliminations, another point count will hopefully happen quite soon, possibly on Thursday.  The game is exploding to the point where it could actually decrease in size for once! XD The intense combat erupting all over the place has definitely slowed the launch pace, between trade routes getting interrupted, a Harbor invasion, and a lousy resource roll that will last for quite some time (6 more turns).  The French are the only faction sitting on considerable gold reserves, but they almost literally cannot have more ships in the Harbor until they get some ships in for repairs and others out into the ocean. XD

Thanks for reading!  This will likely be a rarity going forward, since I'll be doing more frequent but shorter reports.  I prefer to report on events the day they occur, and it gets a little more stressful when I hype or promise a report for one day but can't finish it until the next.  For example, the JR and Cursed faction turns occurred on Saturday (which is when I wrote that part of this report too actually), and of course it was difficult to hold back.  However, from a narrative perspective it's good to have these mega reports of epicness once in a while too. Especially for the longer reports, I may start doing full post or "chapter" titles as I did with this one.  They won't be particularly imaginative, but more for me to look back on. As you clearly know by now, I have a thing for all things epic. I'll try to make the titles accurate but of course they will stray the line into madness.

Well then!  18 pages in my Google doc and over 100 pictures later, I hope you enjoyed this monstrosity!  What a game!

11/8/2017

Turn 70
(or at least, most of it)

Another round begins with a big development: the Pirates leave the Sea of Karkuda!!


Not just in the southwest, but also up north!


The Sunrise Fire ducks into a fog bank to avoid the French:


Pirate arrivals from Karkuda!


More damaged ships arrive in the southeast!  Note that as the Pride returns, her crew and others bring news of the French "betrayal", which of course was caused by the Pirates' deal with the Cursed that began the end of the Pirate/French alliance.  The news is not entirely surprising to the Pirates, but they are somewhat surprised by how quickly the Cursed betrayed their trust.


This dramatic shift in Pirate strategy has been brewing for a while now.  It started with the First Battle of the American whirlpool, which the Pirates lost badly to the Americans.  Then came the Second Battle of the American whirlpool, which has mostly concluded in another decisive loss. Finally, the deal with the devil backfired on the Pirates when the Cursed betrayed them a bit by telling the French about the deal.  This led to the Pirate ships in northern Karkuda being decimated by nearby French gunships in yet another "whirlpool battle" they would have lost. All in all, three disastrous whirlpool "expeditions" if you will, each of them costly and bloody.  With that, the Pirates have had it. They will no longer send attacking squadrons through whirlpools. They have pulled out most of their ships from the Sea of Karkuda, with the ones remaining stuck there due to being trapped or beyond help. This big shift in Pirate strategy and gameplay could have seismic effects for the duration of the game.  The Americans bore the full brunt of Pirate aggression, but the English and now the French have felt quite wronged by Pirate activity as well. Captain Mission and his Pirate Admirals are sick of losing so many masts, ships, and lives to whirlpool shenanigans that never seem to have a big payoff. Therefore, they may begin favoring a complete isolationist policy.  Let the other factions come to them. They will repair and rebuild, and hunker down for the long haul.


Inside the Tunnel, Pirates and mercenaries are hard at work on the ladder extending from the Celtic Fury's mast!


Here you can start to make out what they've been doing:


DRILLING!!  O_O


The above picture and this one were taken after temporarily removing the Tunnel from the ocean, to show it more clearly.  This shot is looking at the ceiling of the Tunnel on the western side where the Pirates have begun primitive rock-blasting operations!


At the end of their turn, the Pirates spent 90 gold on 4 new gunships, including a few great ones: the Black Pearl, Diamond Strike, Ranger, and Splinter.  At the upper left you can see the new Pirate strategy beginning to take effect, with many damaged ships coming home for repairs as fresh ones prepare to defend the whirlpools at all costs.


Another battle at Broken Horn Island continues!  The Jikininki is dismasted, but the Jades lose the Glorious Treasure for good when she succumbs to her fires (courtesy of the Executioner, a fitting name for that Cursed gunship).


A small measure of Jade revenge!  Many weeks after she was possessed by the Cursed and turned into an icewreck, the Clear Wind is finished after her iceberg was rammed by a Viking icebreaker!  The Jades wanted to recapture the ship, but after seeing her demonic state for multiple battles now, they had to put an end to the weirdness. As the ice is broken, the Clear Wind sinks and many Jade Rebels have heavy hearts on this fine day.  The Hrunting knocks a mast off the Sickle as the Grendel tows the Brandywine.


A broader shot showing the Corsairs' advance and the path they've made for the Grendel and Brandywine:


O_O  WHOA!!  The Jade Rebels attack the Pirates!!!!  


After the Pirates backed down from any alliance talk the Jades engaged in earlier, the Jades ignored and nearly forgot about them.  However, the Cursed have worked their "magic" once more. With another large-scale JR-Cursed battle beginning, some talk between the sides could be expected.  Sammy the Skull (aboard the Monkey's Paw) has let some information spread throughout the Jade fleet. Most of it true believe it or not! XD


The Cursed have informed the Jades that the whirlpool was created only with Pirate help, which is true since Davy Jones copied Calypso.  The Cursed have also told the Jades about how powerful the Pirates are (since they have the Eye), which is also (mostly) true. The Jades have become quite a powerhouse faction with their recent Corsair hires, and the Pirates have been crushed lately in their travels to the Sea of Karkuda.  The Cursed did embellish how strong the Pirates currently are, and made sure to emphasize that if the Jades do not concentrate some firepower on the Pirates, the Pirates will be able to defeat a Jade Rebellion faction that will be weakened if they manage to defeat the Cursed in the long term.


Almost all the information was true, and the Jades understood that they needed to correct their tunnel vision (pun intended) and see other big threats besides the hated Cursed.


The big hit landed on the JR turn was an exploding shot by the Grand Mountain, which set the Akua Lapu aflame and killed Bonny Peel's helmsman.


Still incredibly impressive, the Jades continue to flood the northwestern part of Allost:




The Cursed begin their turn with L-movers!  Tsuro throws the Royal Louis against the shattered dock in the French Harbor, knocking another mast off the ship!  The force of the movement shoves the slowly sinking dock against the Grand Vainqueur, but that ship escapes further damage.


And now it is time for the new Cursed weapon!  Inspired by the success of Neptune's Trident, the Cursed have unleashed Namazu!!


Namazu's wave attack was not originally in range of many JR ships, so the Serpent's Fang got close to the serpent so it could move a bit southeast.  Then, Davy Jones showed his power, using the copier ability to copy Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote, the French version of Lord Mycron who is sitting on L'Argus in the French Harbor!  The Guichuan's action was given to Namazu so the monster could essentially move and then shoot as if it had a captain. However, it was no ordinary shoot action, as you can see Namazu charging up for a massive tidal wave blast!!


Previewing the path of destruction!




For the second turn in a row, the Cursed unleash a tidal wave of hatred!!


This time, seven different ships were affected:


I only took one mast off the icebreaker since she only suffered a glancing blow.  However, the Jades lost 10 masts as a result of the attack, with the Brandywine nearly sunk as well.  Clearly this ability is overpowered in campaign games like this one!! Adding insult to injury, Namazu only loses one segment per wave attack (unlike the Trident, which is based on how many ships are affected), so it's even more cost-effective for the Cursed here with the ability that can be used multiple times (versus the Trident, which is removed from play after being used).  As a result, I think I will house rule that wave attacks do "hit" damage rather than outright mast elimination, in which case a ship would only lose one full mast when affected (since it takes two hits to remove a mast). I may also let the Cursed roll when making a wave attack, and on a 5 or 6 (or just a 6 maybe) they get the full unedited effect like we see here. With two copiers and a reasonably healthy Namazu though, I think something needs to be done to avoid the Cursed turning a defeat into a victory with the help of just one ability that has become OP in a hurry here in CTO.


The Knight's Errant (one of the worst ships in the game, but almost necessary here when you have borderline-unlimited points to spend) and Strix block the longships from advancing into Cursed trade routes, while the Cursed canoes will try to help out as well.


The northern Cursed wild island now produces lumber instead of textiles!  In the far north, those sea monsters are submerged and in no danger from the Pirates or Jades.  They will try to combat the Jades and stop their advance.


In a time of reasonable emergency, even the fog hoppers will come out to help!  The Cursed value their fog hoppers VERY highly as a specialized teleportation sneak attack force, but here some of them pop out near Broken Horn Island to surprise the Jades from behind.  None of the three ships got good fog exit location rolls, so the Wiglaf suffers light damage as the Hangman's Joke simply ducks back into the fog.


Here you can see the Jades coming as close as they ever have to interrupting Cursed trade.  The Fallen Angel and Whydah block the Hrothgar and Grand River, but if this thin line of Cursed defense falls, the Cursed could really be in trouble.  However, up north the Nightmare is nearly back with the first haul of food, while the Divine Dragon tows the Bloody Blade.


The Grand River is pulverized by the Whydah and Executioner, suffering many hits and being set aflame!  The Hades' Realm just barely misses out on dooming the annoying Proud Tortoise (immune to L-range guns) with a firepot of her own.


The crew of the Fenrir are once again paralyzed by Fear, and the Flying Dutchman finally gets in action to start dealing some major damage.


The Sickle and Monkey's Paw team up to dismast the Hrunting!  At the right you can see how Namazu's attack has blasted the broken iceberg into the Jade ships.




Looking east:


From way above, where you can see Shal-Bala's nest in the lower left corner:


Another unique view, showing the Jade advance crashing into Cursed resistance.  Although the actual cannon fire is only intense in the far west right now, the battle now stretches all the way across the JR-Cursed border from Broken Horn Island to the northern Cursed wild island.


The Cursed do what little damage they can in Karkuda, setting the Bonne Chance alight:


The fire aboard the Nightmare spreads as she turns ghostly to escape the chaos:


The Geographe is doomed, but Terrox's personal victory is a hollow one for the Cursed, who had hoped to do far more damage to the French and their Harbor.  As noted in the previous report, reinforcements would have come if the Jades hadn't attacked.


The beautiful vibrant colors of the two fleets, with plenty of chaos still evident:


Continuing the theme of exiting Karkuda, the Cursed have some ships return to friendlier waters.  The Banshee's Wail and Demon Gate need extensive repairs, while Leviathan was not in range of many targets this turn and could probably be better used against the Jades, who are a far more immediate threat to the Cursed.


We move to the Caribbean factions!  True to their launches that foreshadowed this event, the English arrive in the Sea of Karkuda ready to kill some Pirate scum!!!


Eight English gunships are now near the Pirate Kingdom, in an area where the Pirates have not yet been threatened!!  O_O Weirdly enough, it comes at a time when the Pirates are having lots of ships come home from the war effort against the Americans.  That timing could prove convenient since they should now have more firepower with which to defend their territory against the English.


To be completely honest, the English have been getting slightly bored with how things have turned out.  Their old rival, the Spanish, have a fervent desire to retake the Castle, leaving the English without much of a combative enemy in the Caribbean.  They have declared war on the Pirates, and will pursue that for now.


The English are sticking around in Karkuda to finish off some Pirate gunships.  The Black Cat used smokepot shot to save herself and the Freedom, at least temporarily.


The Spanish pull off what you could call a "miracle turn"!  The Corazon Dorado put out her fire, got her SAT and hit a shot before ducking into a fog bank.  The Santa Ana did the same with her EA ability and hit a shot as well. The Spanish rolled around five 5's or 6's in a row!  The Santo Columba didn't do quite as well, but managed to set the United States on fire.


The Granada was the only Spanish ship to shoot poorly, but the York is doomed and the Asesino hit 2/2.  Her second shot set the Kentucky alight and eliminated a cargo!




Overall the Americans are far stronger than the Spanish, but the Spanish are putting up quite a fight in this secluded theater of Karkuda!


As shown last turn, 5 more Spanish gunships head south towards the Castle:


The Cursed named crew Wraith has been possessing crew with his ability for a while now.  His latest includes the firepot specialist from the Kentucky, and lately he's been very successful rolling 6's.  Here you can see the stack of possessed crew, who now number around a dozen I believe. For the next point count I plan to count how many crew there are and include the costs in the Cursed fleet point total.  Soul Crusher indeed!


The Karkuda factions!

Taking a calculated risk, Nemo surfaces the Nautilus to load food from the French wild island!  Other submarines come to his aid and scatter to distract the French.


However, the French start their turn by attacking!  Finally able to shoot at one of the subs, the French try to exact payback for Nemo's deception earlier in the game.  Incredibly, the Bourbon and Voleur team up to hit 5/6! This takes out part of the sub's hull:


The French clean up against the Cursed:




Courtesy of the Felicite, the Nightmare loses her final mast to fire!  A rarity in Pirates CSG, where a large ship is completely aflame. There have probably been others in my games since then, but the only other one I distinctly remember is the Paul Revere from Economy Edition.


The Hellfire and Juggernaut still have masts standing, but the Cursed are facing the last portion of a major defeat.  Of course, they caused incredible havoc in the process. XD


Part of the logistics at the Harbor involved just towing and re-towing some ships, in order to start clearing a path at the western edge of the Harbor mouth.


The French fire at the Americans, though it's not as effective as the first strike:


The Neptune docks at The Flat to extinguish her flames.


The Yankee is doomed, and Le Superbe blasts away the American infantry and artillery units on the lumber island.


The Peacock, Hancock, and Pequod are all dismasted!


The Monaque cannot escape yet since the Aaron Burr is blocking her, but at least her fire doesn't spread.


The Ville de Paris not only eliminated her fire mast, but set the Hancock alight as well!


Perhaps one of the most realistic shots yet, showing the general French dominance:


Having crushed the Pirates and forced them to go back home, the French now have a bunch of gunships to reinforce their positions with.  As if they needed them! XD 4 are headed west towards the northern part of the American battle, while 6 more head south.


Even more interesting: French gunships head for the Castle battle!  Now that the Cursed and Pirates have largely been taken care of (both "false emergencies" to some degree, though the effects of the Cursed attack will be felt for many more turns), the French can afford to throw gunships at various tasks they had previously been putting off.  This includes the Spanish fight against the Americans. With the French already engaged in another bloody battle against the Americans north of the Castle, it's only natural that they would also send some of their surplus gunships to help out their Spanish allies on the eastern side.  The Montreal, Dame Riante and Marie Antoinette look to be the first French ships on the scene, with the larger La Gaule and Delacroix lurking as well.


Here are a few more shots of the turns in Karkuda, with lower angles that I thought looked great:


















At the end of their turn the French spent all of their 176 gold!  This netted them 9 additional gunships, with Pierre Aronnax stationed at the Harbor for now.  He will await pickup by a large gunship if the Mercenary threat increases. The Rocher Noir also has the sub-hunting ability, so the French are not holding back when it comes to containing the threat posed by Nemo and his goons.

As usual the ships are equipped with generally optimal crew complements, with the cargo holds almost always maxed out.  With crazy amounts of points to spend, it's nice to actually have a lot of high-powered support gunships instead of the usual 5 mast budget warship (and often nothing else) used in a standard game.  These ships are ready for war!

All of the ships were launched at The Flat, with 6 at the southern end and the three 3 masters at the northern end.  The American faction is usually the faction where I provide the most in-depth strategy analysis and vision, but I'd like to do that with more factions if I have time during the writing of these reports.  Here the French are launching at The Flat because the Harbor is still very crowded and does not need more ships. They also launched at The Flat due to the Castle being a current hotspot of activity. The gunships launched at the southern end of The Flat should inject immediate life into the fight against America.  The Spanish are overjoyed to have such a powerful ally, though they hope the French will come through on their current promise to help out at the Battle for the Castle, which by now is definitely an appropriate term!


I believe this shows all French ships in play, as the Sea of Karkuda is just teeming with them at this point.  XD


I have some (mostly) great news!  There is about a 99% chance that the game will be played after the Thanksgiving weekend concludes, allowing me to play into December and likely conclude the game a week or less before Christmas.  I say mostly because I didn't expect or want this game to take so long, but obviously it has ballooned to an unmanageable size and taken on a life of its own. However, at this point it is my greatest creation in the world of Pirates CSG, and certainly needs a proper ending.  

11/10/2017

Attacks coming from land, sea, and AIR

If this is too long and you won't read it, you can see a few summaries of the action here and here.   There is also a video on my Instagram, as youtube and IG occasionally see exclusive footage of the action before the official battle report is posted.

The Americans begin their turn with their fight against the Spanish.  The Kentucky has a miserable turn.


However, the Saratoga set the Santo Columba on fire, and the Enterprise has nearly reached the battle area:


The Zanzibar and Thrud are captured, with the Full Moon next.


The Americans continue to clean up the battle area, sending various gunships north to combat the French.


At the right, the Colonial Trader will soon reach the Castle to provide some infantry reinforcements.


Just to show the debris:


As I showed in one of the videos, the Americans have lost their line of battle in the northern area.  The Congress is trading broadsides with the Hercule, but the Paul Revere is fleeing for repairs and the Yankee burned to the waterline.


In a huge morale victory for the Americans, the Monaque is dismasted and set aflame even more!  This will probably doom the ship, making it the first French 5 master to sink in this game.  On this turn it was a joint effort by no less than 4 different ships, as the Aaron Burr, Overton, President and Boston all got shots in.


With the President shooting, that means Commodore Preble has arrived!  The American admiral hopes to reinvigorate the American defense, and brings with him some considerable reinforcements.




The Saratoga, Hudson, Intrepid, and Franklin are all a turn or two away from helping out.


Two other considerable foes are also approaching the French line: USS Kettering got Decatur's EA this turn to speed northeast at S+L+S x2, while the Concordia also heads for the battle.  You can also see 5 other American gunships along with the cheerleader ship Seminole heading northeast.


With the Saratoga and others stopping the Spanish advance, the Speedy Return may yet be able to repair at the Castle soon.  The main American rival in the game is quickly shifting from the Pirates (handily defeated twice at the southwestern whirlpool) to the Franco-Spanish alliance, who not only threaten to defeat the Americans in what could be called the Third Fight at The Flat, but also threaten to take the Castle itself!




American "graveyard" for Turn 70.  They lost over 50 points' worth of stuff, a rarity due to the mast elimination and sinking rules in addition to how frequently fleets have fled and repaired during and after battles.  It's not that the Americans aren't being cautious at all, it's just that these three ships were all caught in the middle of intense gunnery from hostile ships with firepot specialists.


The Pirate turn

The Black Cat and Freedom emerge from their fog bank to escape via the whirlpool!


The Pirates RIP INTO the English invasion!!


The Pirates inflict high casualties, with almost all the English ships taking damage.


The Pirates are determined to limit or STOP the flow of English ships arriving from the Caribbean.  To that end they have placed as many ships at or around the southeastern whirlpool as possible. By completely clogging the whirlpool, the English can probably be contained.  The Pirates experienced the other end of this very recently, when they couldn't send enough ships to Karkuda due to the battle area being too crowded, which was multiplied by the initial American refusal to capture ships and the small handful of English gunships that are still right around that whirlpool.  Here, the Pirates use ships from the northern whirlpool of Allost to warp to the south. The Pride simply stays where she is and repairs to do her part in the blockade, while the Revenge, Black Mongoose, White Rose, Black Arrow, and Sister's Rage suddenly appear from the northern whirlpool to block the English from arriving.


Havana Black takes the Deliverance to Ocean's Edge!


The Fool's Hope didn't have a good turn against HMS Forge, but the Feathered Hat, Dragon's Breath and Deliverance all did considerable damage for the Pirates.  The severely damaged Bruja and Obago move to the outside to allow healthier Pirate ships to take their place, but the Pirates have an "all hands on deck" strategy here for repelling the English.  They will NOT let them get anywhere in the Sea of Allost, let alone get near Mission's Kingdom.

Also, one of the Pirate infantry units on the gold island eliminated a crew from the Hastings!

The Centurion and Thirty Tyrants repair at the northern whirlpool where they're joined by the Black Cat and Freedom, the last Pirate ships to escape the American onslaught.  Fresh Pirate ships begin to surround the northern whirlpool, where the Pirates will keep a close eye out for invaders.


The four Pirate gunships launched last turn speed south towards the English battle, and are joined by a few support gunships.  You've probably noticed that the Pirates have a solid home fleet, with various smaller gunships on patrol duty all the time. A full half-dozen of them can be seen here along the eastern side of the reefs, though some have been called to act against the English.  The Draconum is the personal "bodyguard ship" for Calypso and her ship, the Stoneheart.


Back inside the Tunnel!  The Pirates complete drilling operations from the ladder attached to the Celtic Fury's tall mast!  However, they've hit something they can't get through!!


Unbeknownst to them, a huge boulder blocks their path!


Taken for my own amusement, this picture shows what would have happened if they could get through the big stone.  I managed to punch a perfect hole right to where the rock was, and it came off the Tunnel since there wasn't a lot of glue to hold it.  XD The mini screwdriver went through the ceiling of the Tunnel, but the rock was there to block it in the game.


I couldn't get a great closeup of the hole, which looks cooler from the bottom in real life.  At this point it's probably obvious what the Pirates intend to do....


With their home waters threatened, the Raven stops by the entrance to the Tunnel to check to see if things are OK.  Her crew are surprised as the Pirates in the Tunnel approach, telling the ship to back off. Those Pirate ships are about to make way for the Celtic Fury to turn around, for Mission is not giving up on his Tunnel operations....


At the other end of the Tunnel, I was quite disappointed to see the Pirate "mini super squadron" fail miserably.  The Revenant couldn't get Calico Cat's EA, while the Victoire and Harbinger got bad fog rolls that forced them to go back in.  However, the Fleur de la Mort eliminated a Cursed canoe (the first time the Pirates or Cursed have had direct combat!) and captured a Viking helmsman via Will Turner's S-boarding ability.


The Revenant did knock off the Floating Stone's turtle panels, but overall it was a disappointing effort by the Pirates' western squadron.


Not wanting any part of a nasty, messy, and deadly Cursed-JR crossfire, the Royal Rover and Sea Nymph turn around on orders from Captain Mission.  At this point Mission has spent a lot of time in the Tunnel overseeing the progress.


The Pirates launched the Seref and Empress at Dead Man's Point.

At the upper right, you may have noticed Plumb Point Lighthouse, the second lighthouse in the game!  Vixenishcoder66 is still working on the major ability, but this is the version I'll use if it comes up:

[quote="vixenishcoder66"](Rough Draft) Pirates Cove:  When an enemy ship enters the range of this lighthouse the player must roll a d6. 1-2 this ship immediately stops and cannot be given any more move actions. The owner of the lighthouse may initiate a boarding party against this ship (no friendly ship is necessary). The lighthouse gets +3 to boarding rolls. If the enemy ship wins the boarding roll nothing happens. The ship may move freely the following turn.  3-4 no effect, 5-6 this ship may be given an additional +S move action. Flavor text: It's difficult to know who is friend or foe in these waters.[/quote]


The new lighthouse is a perfect example of the new Pirate strategy, which is to stay at home and build up for when other factions come for them.  It's a structural investment very close the the Kingdom itself, and should allow the Pirates to gather spices faster, which is currently a valuable resource.


To the JR-Cursed War

The Jades get the party started!  The Wiglaf hits the Sea Hag with stinkpots (which I use the green dice for when possible), while the Needle just barely escapes being dismasted by accurate Corsair gunships.


The Meshud breaks from the rest of the battle fleet to head west, as the Jades realize their surplus of ships heading due north but a potential shortage in the far west.


Blasting away at the Cursed!  The Jade Rebels focus their fire on the Executioner, which bursts into flames!


The legendary Flying Dutchman is also engulfed by a blaze!  The Scorpion and Fire Djinn were actually quite pathetic against the FD, going a combined 1/7 (though the Scorpion pinned the Hades' Realm with her sickle).  However, one ship really shined here: the Valkyrie. This Viking one master gets +1 to her cannon rolls against the Cursed, and Warlord Thorfinn (from the flavor text) was ready to fight today!  The ship got two 6's in a row to set the FD aflame with fire shot, bailing out her inaccurate comrades!


Closeup of the action:


The Jades were trying to prepare for the possibility of another devastating wave attack from Namazu.  The Grand Path repairs, while the Beowulf eliminated part of the Clear Wind's iceberg so it wouldn't do further damage to Jade ships if the wave pushed it towards them.  Other ships headed home for repairs, while the Grendel was chain-towed a bit. The Hrunting hides in the fog, letting the Donar take over against the Monkey's Paw, though she is ineffective.


A largely pathetic effort by the Jades up north!  The 1 masted longships go 4/6 to finish off the Cursed canoes, but the Strix and Knight's Errant are still undamaged.  The real failure came when the Floating Stone went 0/2 (with her reroll providing the second shot) and the Grand Mountain went just 2/6 and saw her exploding shot backfire!!  Instead of the Revenant being damaged and aflame, the Jades had almost nothing to show for their efforts near the Tunnel.


The Revenant was hit by a stinkpot specialist, but she can simply duck into a fog bank if the Pirates continue to avoid combat in this area.


Of course, the flood of Jade Corsair ships continues:


At the right along the fog banks, the galleys cleared a path so the Polaris could finally move towards some icebergs in the north.  Two of the best JR ships, the Grand Temple and Naegling, are still stuck in the fog due to the Cursed L-movers and their own poor fog rolls.  That wall of fog has proven to be pretty annoying to the Jades, as each bank only has 1-3 locations on the western side and ships often find themselves in adjacent fog banks or staring at the huge southern wall of the Tunnel.  Overall I can count at least 40 ships that have been directly involved in the battle at one point or another, with the front stretching from Broken Horn Island to the western Tunnel entrance.


The Sea of Allost, which has now become the biggest hotspot of activity after Karkuda was so bloody just a few turns ago:


If you stared at the previous picture long enough, you would have noticed some ladders atop the Roost, with infantry now clearly visible as well...  this isn't looking good.... O_O


SHAL-BALA TAKES TO THE SKIES ONCE AGAIN!!  This time the dragon is not alone!!


The undead (thematically) Cursed troops clamber onto the ladder, which Shal-Bala grips firmly in its claws!!


Shal-Bala circles and picks up speed!


SHAL-BALA SWOOPS IN AND DROPS THE LADDER OF HORDES UPON THE JADE VESSELS!!!!







The ladder splashes into the sea and the Cursed menace is upon us!  Undead hordes storm the decks of the galleys nearby!


The Slaughterfest begins!!  O_O
 

Now, I do have rules for these.  When the infantry are dropped onto the decks of ships, they function as an immediate boarding party.  When dropped from the air, the infantry have a boarding base of 4 due to the surprise nature of the attack and being dropped from the sky.  If I can remember to do it right, their boarding stat will drop by one each turn. This means that if they survive, they stay on the ship and can initiate a boarding party on the next turn, but they will have a boarding base of 3 and so on.  


In this case the Ivory Star was the only ship capable of fending off her attackers!  However, the Jades have been crewing their ships to the max, and the other three ships only lost oarsmen this turn.  However, the fight aboard those galleys is ongoing!


The Sea Hag can't reach the safety of the beloved (to the Cursed) fog, since her helmsman is affected by some stinky stuff.  The Needle escapes, while the Poor Adams finally emerges from her own fog bank to dismast the Grand River!


The Fallen Angel beings towing the Jikininki, while the Whydah really wallops the Hrothgar!  She burns, while the Fenrir also loses a mast. The Executioner uses her shipwright to put out her fire, saving the ship for at least this turn (house ruled if illegal).  At the right, the Flying Dutchman succeeds with a Broadsides Attack to dismast the Scorpion!!


The Cursed continue dealing damage on a successful turn, knocking masts off the Fire Djinn and hitting the Donar with Fear.  Without as many targets as before, and with Davy Jones sick of being selfless, Namazu submerges and retreats deeper into the Roost.  However, her escort the Serpent's Fang (a fitting name given her ability and usage) sets the Beowulf alight! (her crew was also scared by the Monkey's Paw XD)


With no more canoes, the Rook's Folly takes her tribal chieftain out of the fog and into the path of the Jade advance.  You may have noticed a shocking development off her bow...


With the help of a cannoneer, the Knight's Errant goes 3/3 and sinks the Sleipnir!!  One of the worst ships in the game and carrying a rank-4 armament, this could be her finest moment EVER in Pirates CSG.  XD


Davy Jones finally gives his action to his own ship, rather than Calypso's or Deleflote's ability!  The Guichuan moves a glacial pace towards the battlefield, while the Divine Dragon finally rows home for extensive repairs that will take 10 turns (8 of them due to the "recoil" of Neptune's Trident).


From above the Roost, showing how crowded it is:


A rare shot looking along the front wall of the Roost towards the east:


After a few turns of intense broadsides, many ships are showing signs of severe damage:


An extremely rare (and difficult to get) shot looking north to south in the Sea of Allost.


Take it in since you won't get these views often:






The Cursed are in full retreat from the Sea of Karkuda!  It's occurred over the course of 3 turns I believe, but now Terrox is the only Cursed game piece left in this ocean:


The DJC version of the Nightmare finally succumbed to her flames, sinking at last.  She had a trying experience in this game, but managed to redeem herself on her final voyage after two atrocious efforts.  Some considerably damaged ships return from the battle at the Harbor; the Cursed are happy to see them afloat but they won't be able to help out in the War against the Jades quite yet.  The Nightmare was the only ship the Cursed lost in the battle against France, a solid accomplishment given how quickly and totally they were surrounded at the Harbor.


The Turn 71 graveyard for the Jade Rebellion and Cursed.


The Caribbean factions

The English dismast the Fancy and capture the Kin Tai Fong, meaning the Pirates have been completely eliminated from southwest Karkuda!  The Americans and English have had limited contact in this battle, and the English have not told the Americans about their alliance with the French (in fact these ships may not know about it depending on when they went to Karkuda vs. the Forge meeting the Dauphin Royal).  The Americans say the English can take what Pirate derelicts they capture, but this would just be the Fancy and KTF at this point. The English are simply happy that all four ships survived the LONG and messy battle, though the Henry VIII is the only one in good condition.


Speaking of whirlpool battles, the one in the Sea of Allost is expanding and getting hotter!  The English have a GREAT turn against the Pirates, putting some ships in major trouble with accurate cannon fire.


An AA from CRGO allowed the Guy Fawkes to move and shoot right after coming through the whirlpool from the Caribbean, and here she sets the Tejon aflame.  This AA also allowed for an extra ship to come through the whirlpool in the space the Guy Fawkes would have occupied.


However, the Pirate strategy was quite effective, as the Guy Fawkes and Apollo are the only two English ships able to make the whirlpool journey.


The Hastings knocked over a Pirate infantry unit, hence the post title given the other actions that happened earlier.


The English do particularly well in the southeast portion of the area, setting the Rickets and Dolphin aflame.  The Deliverance suffers damage at the guns of the Iron Prince.




The battle is quickly becoming quite substantial and fiery:


The next Pirate turn will be a big one.  If the English cannot be contained, they may be able to gain a solid foothold in Allost that would threaten Pirate trade.


The Spanish continue their improbable run of success, essentially beating the Americans on their own turf with a smaller force!  The Santo Columba fought despite her quarterdeck being in flames, setting the Saratoga on fire for revenge. The crippled Santa Ana got a weird fog roll to exit between the two ships, blocking the Santo Columba from American cannons on their next turn but setting herself up to be captured or dismasted.  However, the Santa Ana hit with her firepot specialist as well, and the Saratoga is now an inferno!!


The Granada sets the Gold Eagle aflame while the Asesino blasts apart the Kentucky, eliminating both a mast and cargo.  On the other side of the Castle, the Acorazado used Master Gunner Rogelio Vazquez to shoot American infantry off a rampart, where they fell into the water on the other side!


Making matters worse for the Americans, the 5 Spanish reinforcements are almost there!


With more eventually on the way!!  One of Spain's finest is launched, El Principe de Asturias.  She carries a captain, helmsman, oarsman, artillery unit, and two infantry units.  It's time to take back the Castle!


Took almost the same shot with the flash just to highlight the huge contrast in styles:


Thanks for reading!  Within a week I plan to do a "faction situation analysis" in addition to a point count!

11/11/2017

THE BIGGEST EVER

The French scuttle the Geographe to try and get Terrox to leave the Harbor.


The destroyed dock has finally been completely cleaned up, with half of it sinking and the other half disposed of.  However, the damage dealt by the Cursed attack will take a while to repair fully.


With the Cursed basically gone, the French set about defending the whirlpool that Davy Jones/Calpyso created.  Some cargo ships are finally able to enter the Harbor now that the battle has ended!


The Nautilus submerges to safety as the French have no way of getting at the Mercs right now.  I have gone back to my original ruling on ram damage, which means that submerged submarines cannot do any ram damage.  Each major faction only has a couple ways of dealing with submerged submarines, and it doesn't seem fair for the Mercs to be able to endlessly take masts off enemy ships when nothing can be done about it.


A good strategy!  With ships simply waiting their turn to enter the Castle waters in the battle area, some ships head south.  They will round the terrain to the west and come at the Americans from the south. The Mercury is standing guard there, but it will be good for the Franco-Spanish to have another angle of attack.


By maneuvering perfectly, the French manage to extract the Monaque!  


The Pequod is captured, with the Aaron Burr and Sioux derelict.  This was taken before the end of the French turn.


The French win the battle up north and advance into American waters!!  The Congress is dismasted by the Hercule and Mont Blanc, with the Superbe leading the charge west.




Deleflote gave the action of L'Argus to the Crete Argentee, who towed the Monaque to The Flat, extinguishing the flames and saving the ship!!  This is a cool part about campaign games: you have so many ships available for support and rescue that oftentimes the most impossible maneuver or task can be accomplished due to the sheer amount of actions given out.


The Ville de Paris sets the Concord aflame, while the Soleil Royal helps to plug the gap in the French line.


The Solitaire has captured the Aaron Burr.


The graveyard for this faction turn, with the Peacock sunk by the Martinique and some fires put out.  The destroyed dock is no more, but will live on in infamy!


Shot at by 4+ ships and an American artillery cannon, the Charlemagne goes from undamaged to derelict!!


Preble uses the President to capture the ship, as the French didn't put an oarsman aboard!


The Saratoga and Hudson tow the ship down the chain, but where has she gone now?


Captured!!  The Philadelphia received Preble's AA this turn, allowing the ship to warp the French capital ship home and save her from the fires!  In an extreme rarity, the ship went from French hero ship (the first to tow the Monaque out of the line to save her) to American capture!  Going from healthy to derelict and aflame, the Americans have captured a big prize. This also swung the momentum completely the opposite way, as the French had a huge morale victory by saving the Monaque, but an even greater morale loss when the Charlemagne was nabbed before their eyes!


The 3+ American gunships in the way of the Santa Ana and Santo Columba hold their water, dismasting the SA after the Saratoga moved out of the way into a fog bank.  


The Enterprise got bad fog rolls, but the Hornet and Mohican join the repositioned Mercury at the southeastern edge of Castle waters.


The Gold Eagle simply puts out the fire started by the Granada, the Harlequin misses the latter, and the Kentucky finally knocks a mast off the Asesino de la Nave.




The Jarvis and Kettering team up to hit the Superbe.  The Kettering has turned into a mach speed weapon, going from the southwestern battle to the northern area of the French battle in just two turns with the help of extra actions from Commander Steven Decatur.


There seems to be a "danger zone" right where the Castle, Flat, and lumber island intersect.  The area has been the place of the hottest action so far in this battle, and the masts are piling up.  The Monaque, Charlemagne, and Pequod were all dismasted right around there.


Albert Crenshaw pushes the Albany home with all speed, but she might not make it.  The Nene-nui succeeded with exploding shot, knocking out a reef that makes the 5-beach island more accessible!


American logistics in the southwest: towing and whirlpool defense patrols.


The Full Moon has been captured, ending the final symbol of Pirate resistance in the area.  The Americans captured around 14 Pirate ships in the battle, which could be a high for any single battle in any of my physical campaign games.


Here you can see seven of those prizes, along with USS Jackson, who is receiving some fighting crew after leaving her cargo hold open for infantry earlier in the game.  


Speaking of infantry, the Providence and Carolina load three units each.  The Americans hope to unload them at the lumber island for some cheap defense against the French.  However, we'll eventually see if they're too late....




The American graveyard for this turn.  The second reef was destroyed by the Louisiana off Ruby Island, making American passage to the Castle easier!


In just the second turn of the battle, the Pirates have utterly defeated the English!!!


With an incredible turn, the Pirates dominate in their home waters.  The Deliverance went 4/4 to knock 2 masts off the Guy Fawkes, and was followed by the Charles setting the Belle of Exeter on fire.


You may have noticed that the Tejon, Dolphin, and Rickets are not aflame anymore.  The Pirates rolled three 5's in a row to extinguish their flames, allowing those ships to hold their positions in the defensive circular line!  The Revenge didn't get her revenge against the English, going just 1/4. However, the White Rose and Black Mongoose were there to bail her out, going a combined 6/7 (or 5/7, either way great shooting).  The BM went into the whirlpool itself to rake three English ships by the stern, scoring a hit on each.


The Fool's Hope, Cutlass, and Raven damage the Forge and Wycliffe:


HMS Hastings gets hit a whopping SEVEN times during the turn, getting ravaged by 5 different ships.


Of the ten English ships in the area, none have more than 2 masts remaining.


With a wide-open area and two factions ready to go at it, the battle area has accumulated considerable wreckage and debris in a very short time.


Various ships in the Pirate fleet doing various things.  A couple ships at the far left head to Dead Man's Point for repairs, while some severely damaged ships north of the shipwreck look to repair as well.  The Pirates are setting up a total blockade of the northern whirlpool, to prevent any hostile ships from coming out of it. At the bottom, support gunships patrol the reefs, guarding against attack.


Here you can see about 7 Pirate gunships speeding south to assist against the English, but it's likely they won't even be needed!


With the Tunnel as empty as it's been in weeks, the Celtic Fury receives an AA to get into position.  If you're wondering, yes this means the Pirates didn't even need both AA's (they got both this turn) to do all that damage against the English, although I think the Fool's Hope was given the other AA.


The ladder is raised once again, and Pirates will soon clamber up!


Here you can clearly see the hole left by the Pirate rock-blasting operations in the western half of the Tunnel; Mission has chosen the next spot on the eastern side, not far from the entrance.


With the Crusher and Celtic Fury just visible in the Tunnel, here are the Piratical activities of Turn 72.


Captain Mission's Pirate Kingdom!  The Pirate fleet is truly gigantic and contains a large percentage of their ships released by Wizkids.  The ocean is just teeming with gunships at this point; I would estimate that any hostile ship dropped almost anywhere in the eastern half of the Sea of Allost would be set upon by at least half a dozen Pirate ships on the following turn.


From the foremast of the Foresight, the southern and northern entrances to the kingdom structure itself.


The Pirates and Cursed don't like each other at this point, but neither side wants to engage.  From these pictures you can see how close some of their game pieces are by the northern whirlpool, but both sides have adopted a kind of "convenient ignorance" when it comes to acknowledging the presence of the other.  (a cold shoulder based on self preservation you could say)


It's a curious thing that these Pirates aren't nearly as excited about the shipwrecked gold as they were about the gold island.  Captain Villanueva of the Rum Runner has been assigned to get the gold he himself discovered, but it remains to be seen if other Pirate ships will be sent over the reef.


Now for some rare views!

Looking from the northeast corner to the west:


From just above the newly constructed Plumb Point Lighthouse:


Didn't get the right focus here, but massive size of the Tunnel and Roost dominate the horizon.


Difficult to get these shots from the corner.  XD


I really like this one a lot though; it shows the Tunnel from a weird angle and shows the gold waterfall in the kingdom.


The current texture of the kingdom is not conducive to standing them upright, but the Pirates hired a bunch of infantry this turn, continuing their new theme of home defense over whirlpool expeditions.


The newly launched Bonnie Liz carries a few 2L ladders.


Maybe one of the coolest closeups yet:


Jade Rebellion turn

The Fallen Angel and Sea Hag lose a mast each, as the Jades reposition their ships and shoot on the way by.


The Hrothgar puts out her fire but misses the Pale Moon twice.


This part of the sea is on a bit of an incline, which has combined with dense wreckage (fast becoming one of my favorite Pirates CSG phrases XD) to make moving ships difficult.  The Hrothgar is literally sailing over her own debris along with main masts from the Grand River (repairing herself with a shipwright at the right) and Executioner, possibly with more masts underneath those.  O_O


The Fenrir captures the Executioner!  Again, the reason they're a bit apart is because the Executioner was getting caught on the Fenrir's mizzenmast, which may be stuck under the Ragnarok and above the submerged Locker.  What a mess! XD The Scorpion repairs with a shipwright, while the Fire Djinn hits the Flying Dutchman with a firepot for the second turn in a row!


As the Scorpion pitches to larboard, the Tiger's Eye and Donar are mostly ineffective against the Monkey's Paw and Sickle.  The Hrunting is nearly trapped in the fog; when she tries to come out, almost any die roll will send her crashing into a friendly ship, which I usually play as forcing the ship back into the fog bank.


Sadly, the Beowulf may be doomed.  Bucking the trend of ships putting out their fires (I think 4 ships in a row between the Pirates and the Hrothgar), her flames have spread to the forecastle.


The Corsair galleys in this picture are given actions, forcing them to fight the Cursed hordes who fell from the sky last turn!  The Nubian Prince and Janissaries' Blood win their boarding parties to send the Cursed troops to Davy Jones' Locker, but the Majestic loses her helmsman.  I may have the infantry cut down masts if they win a boarding party against a ship with no crew left.


The Ivory Star tries to come to the rescue, but it looks like the Beowulf will burn.  The IS does knock a mast off the Sickle, who will probably retreat to the nearby Roost for repairs.  At the right, the flood of healthy and pretty Corsair galleys continues, though they're running out of places to sail.


The Asgard unknowingly joins Behemoth and Mist Walker in a fog bank, while the Polaris finally gets back to being an icebreaker!  The Polaris was delayed in the Tunnel wall of fog banks by Cursed L-movers, and now has finally been able to sail north to smash a huge berg.


The Jades continue to fail in the northeastern area of the battle, though many of their ships are still advancing towards the combat area.  The Pirates have simply fled, with the Fleur de la Mort turning around into the Tunnel and the Revenant hiding in the fog.


Wreckage, debris, and stormy waters.  As I said last report, this most intense area of the battle has seen major damage dealt on both sides, so naturally it may be the first area to quiet down a bit.  It's still hectic obviously, but the SEVERE damage done to most of the gunships has left them shattered and their crews exhausted.


Craziness!  Just as the Cursed line of defense begins to falter, the Jades are too exhausted to advance (just like in MANY real life battles, both on land and at sea).  Various galleys are straggling towards the far west slaughterfield of action, but fog banks and their own allies are getting in the way right now.


A less impressive view from above, but cool nonetheless.  It was perhaps inevitable that these two factions would have a major clash after a decent period of inactivity, and here we get to see a full-scale war with a battle front that stretches the entire length of their territorial boundary.


Here I liked the contrast between the white BC sails and the black sails of the Rook's Folly and Harbinger:


Due to the Poor Adams, fog hoppers, and Cursed submarines, the battle has nearly reached the Jade resource island!


The Leviathan and Spilled Salt may get into action soon, seen at the top of the frame:


~~~~~~~~~~

IT WAS TIME!!!!  At the end of Turn 71, I did another point count!!!!

You are not ready for this!  XD Here are the three oceans:




9,078 POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

O_O


:shock:  :shock: :shock:  :shock: :shock:



The point count was insane!  I had been planning it for a while, but wanted to try and catch it on some kind of peak, though there haven't been many launches in a while.  When the random resource roll wasn't a 1 at the beginning of Turn 72, I knew it was time for another epic count. With the current resource change lasting for another 4 turns (out of 8 total) and no random changes occurring for a while, I wanted to do a point count before the game starts shrinking due to all the combat.  After hitting 6,000 last time, I wanted to hit 8,000 to obliterate the game's own record. I knew it was a good possibility given all the launches and how much time passed since the last count, but 9,000 wasn't even on my radar. XD


Here we go!

Turn 71 point and ship count for Command the Oceans, November 11th 2017

Pirates: 105 ships, 1,840 points
Jade Rebellion: 62 ships, 1,187 points
Cursed: 61 ships, 1,138 points
English: 52 ships, 923 points
Spanish: 27 ships, 417 points
French: 101 ships, 1,804 points
Americans: 96 ships, 1,660 points
Mercenaries: 5 ships, 109 points

Totals: 509 ships, 9,078 points

O_O

As compared to the last point count (October 6th), there are now FIVE fleets with OVER ONE THOUSAND POINTS!!!!  O_O With the English not far behind!!

Overall, I thought it was cool to see how close the rivals were.  The Jades and Cursed are nearly on completely equal footing, as are the French and Pirates.  The Americans are the third-largest fleet but can certainly hang with the top two, while the JR-Cursed war threatens to whittle those down to a less competitive level.  I see the English as the dark horse right now (as I plan to elaborate on when I do the factional analysis post), but their current struggles against the Pirates could dent their hopes quite a bit.  The Spanish and Mercenaries realistically have almost no chance of winning the game, unless they can team with a very loyal ally and betray them at the very end after the ally's fleet is decimated by war against the other strong factions.  However, it's clearly anyone's game! Six out of the eight fleets are serious contenders right now, so the finish over the next 4-6 weeks should be anything but predictable.

Time for some stats:

Points per ship:
Pirates: 17.5 points/ship
Jade Rebellion: 19.1
Cursed: 18.7
English: 17.8
Spanish: 15.4
French: 17.9
Americans: 17.3
Mercenaries: 21.8

Average: 17.83

Surprised to not see the Cursed atop this list!  Though they aren't far behind the Jades, who have a VERY high percentage of gunships in their fleet, having operated with the same seven cargo ships for almost the whole game.  (not really counting the Mercs who have two 32-point subs with the Nautilus and Terror maxed out) The average is also quite in line with my historical average, with Economy Edition having an average of 17.46 points per ship at the largest point count in that game, which is my second-largest physical campaign game.  Thus, we can have a very solid estimator for CG sizes based on ship counts alone, simply multiplying by some number between 17 and 18 to get a solid estimate of the total points in play.

By percentage:
Pirates: 20.2% of the points in play
Jade Rebellion: 13.1%
Cursed: 12.5%
English: 10.2%
Spanish: 4.6%
French: 19.9%
Americans: 18.3%
Mercenaries: 1.2%

From this you can think about the various alliances (French/Spanish, French/English are pretty much the ones remaining at this point lol) or try to come up with scenarios where a faction could have a path to victory.

By ocean:
-These are extremely flawed at this point due to all the whirlpool traveling and battles, but serve as an indicator of the factional strength contained in those oceans, not the number of points actually sailing those oceans right this turn.

Sea of Allost: 4,165 points
Caribbean Sea: 1,340 points
Sea of Karkuda: 3,573 points

It's OVER NINE THOUSAND!!!!  XD :lol:

And now for the pictures of the full deckplate areas.  This shows the original Pirate fleet location, although they now have more points allocated in Room #2 than #1 lol.  The Guichuan is there since the Cursed area is full.


Nearly spilling over into the JR area:


The rest of the Pirate fleet!  (with a column of English deckplates here as well haha.  When you don't know how the game will turn out it's difficult to project deckplate space for future expansions)


Getting to the Jade Rebellion area...




Those crew at the bottom right are on the Grand River, my custom proxied by the Grand Dynasty.




The Cursed!  At the upper right, I have stacked most of their crewless sea creatures to save space.


The Cursed recently spilled over onto a bookshelf in Room #2:


As promised, here is Wraith's haul!  He has been in play for a LONG time now, possibly 50+ turns.  This is the result of his 6's, though no named crew yet. Overall, 43 points of crew!  If you've read this far into the report you get a little nugget of new information. XD  I am allowing the Cursed to use any crew captured with this ability on any of their ships, as if they were normal Cursed crew.  (whether or not that breaks the existing rules XD)


The English!






Despite having the 3rd-smallest fleet (at a whopping 923 points lol), the English have deckplates in three areas now.


The Spanish:


Similar to the Jades, they have needed to go underneath the Caribbean table to fit.


The Mercenaries, showing the setups on the Terror and Barracuda for the first time.


The French!!




The Americans! (with a big section of captured Pirates extending out from the right column lol)




I was actually going to do a bit more too haha - if I remember, I'll try to take a picture of the entire GIANT deckplate area in Room #2 (where you see the French, some Pirates and some English above) and also count how many deckplates are in that area alone.  XD It's also the area where the English and Franco-Spanish were in Economy Edition, but with my extremely consolidated deckplate system for this game (necessary due to space constraints - 500 ships in the game!!), that area now has an unprecedented amount of stuff in it.

At 9,078 total points, this game is now far larger than Economy Edition and VASSAL Campaign Game 1 combined.  It's more than 3 times bigger than EE, and more than twice as big as CG1. Certainly seems unbelievable, but with all the pictures above, you can count the points if you want.  XD

Enjoy it while it lasts, since I won't likely be able to do this again for a LOOOOOONNNGGGG time.  By that I mean like 3+ decades. XD

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I'll be back with stuff I forgot lol.  Won't be able to play tomorrow but I hope to resume on Monday!

11/14/2017

Postimage wasn't working right ("internal server error") when I tried to upload these pictures, so I used imgur instead.

This is the Cursed Turn 72.  The Sea Hag escapes, and the Fallen Angel tries to tow the Jikininki out of the battle area.


The Hrothgar has been dismasted!  However, Cursed gunnery was quite inaccurate in the hottest part of the battle this turn, in the western area.  The captured Scorpion is set aflame once again by the Flying Dutchman.


The subs have surfaced!  In a desperate slugfest full of hatred, both factions are just trying to put as many shots on hostile targets as possible.  Future plans be damned if needed - this is an all-out fight!!




The Fire Djinn is hit with shots and Fear, but the Leviathan (at the left) is still submerged.  The Cursed have a strange problem right now: at the top of the photo are the Tiger's Eye, Donar, and Ivory Star.  All of those ships have immunity to L-range guns, and funny enough the Cursed have recently had almost exclusively L-range cannons in that area.  However, the Spilled Salt has gotten back in action, though she went 0/3 in her return.


The Cursed gunships in the northeastern area of the battle continue to defy expectations!  The Strix dismasts the Loki, while the Rook's Folly goes 2/4 (on rank-4 cannons) to take a mast off the Meshud.  The Knight's Errant uses her cannoneer to shoot 2/3 and damage the Grand Mountain.


The Cursed sea monsters have nearly reached the battle, while the trio of subpar gunships have somehow held back the tide of Jade ships without even taking damage yet.


The Guichuan is in a fog bank!  Who knows what she might do next turn... Davy Jones could copy the fog hopping ability, or perhaps use one of the face-down UT's (shown earlier in the game atop the Roost) for an advantage....  In addition, the Cursed have some reinforcements coming! Brachyura has finally left its spot behind the Roost and may attack soon. Terrox becomes the last Cursed game piece to return from the Sea of Karkuda, having lost just one segment to the Geographe.  Various Cursed ships return home for repairs and to unload food.




The Cursed don't have much spending power these days, but the Grim Reaper is launched!  She carries a nice complement of fighting crew to optimize her effectiveness, and the Cursed also relaunched a Death's Anchor flotilla.  The Grim Reaper will give the Cursed a much-needed presence in the middle area of the battle where you can see the Serpent's Fang defending the entrance to the Roost itself (all by herself).


Pure carnage, with desperation and exhaustion taking over in the western area of the battlefield:



I thought I'd end this short report with the "faction situation analysis" that I've been hinting at.

Alliances:
French/Spanish (growing stronger by the turn in the Battle for the Castle)
English/French (weak/French don't care about it right now)

Wars (faction who declared war listed first)
Jade Rebellion-Cursed
Americans-Pirates
Americans-French
Spanish-Americans (may have forgot to mention that the Spanish declared, but I guess it was pretty obvious lol)
English-Pirates

Other relationships
Pirates don't like the Cursed or Jades (Cursed betrayed their trust, Jades recently fired on them)
Americans like the English (latter helped out in the Second Battle of the American whirlpool), but don't know about English/French alliance
French don't like the Mercenaries
French hate the Cursed
French hate the Pirates
Mercenaries don't like anybody, but are intrigued by the Cursed after their attack on the disliked French

In my opinion, the Pirates and the French are in the best position to win the game right now.  They have the largest fleets and considerable home island areas that will be difficult to penetrate by attack.  The Cursed and the Pirates are probably the most-hated factions, though the Americans are at war with three different factions right now.  

The English are in my opinion the dark horse candidate.  However, their embarrassing blowout loss to the Pirates has put a serious dent in their hopes.  

The Jades and Cursed hate each other more than any other two factions, and it's quite possible that this battle (the fourth major engagement between them I think) will run until one faction is decisively victorious and the other possibly eliminated.  The Jades would do well to ally with some of the non-Sea of Allost factions, but they still have not visited either of the other two oceans.

The French have major leverage, with two allies who both originate from the Caribbean.  However, being on bad terms with the other two largest factions (Pirates and Americans, who combine for about 3,500 total points lol) means they will likely have to fight like hell to finish first.  

The Pirates have adopted a home defense/isolationist strategy, but have the most enemies of any faction in the game.  Only the Spanish don't dislike the Pirates, and that is more from lack of contact than anything else. The Jades and Cursed aren't particularly fond of the Pirates, but the Pirates dislike those two more than those two dislike the Pirates (Cursed wanted the French to turn on the Pirates but don't want to fight them right now, while the Jades are neutral against the Pirates but feel they need to be hit so they don't run away with the Sea of Allost once the JR-Cursed situation runs its course).  The English, French, and Americans all hate the Pirates, and the Mercenaries aren't fond of them either of course. (due to the Cursed attack on the French, the Mercs would have got wind by now of the Celtic Fury being in the Pirate fleet)

It will be interesting to see if any of the factions can mend any broken relationships, and if any potential surprise alliances can shake up the game.  In the meantime, there's a lot of animosity. XD Of course, what else would you expect from a crowded campaign game with 8 factions, over 9,000 points, and 71+ turns in the book?  

11/15/2017

A Full Round!

As you could guess from the title, I was able to play a full round of turns today, from the English to the Cursed in this case.

If I hadn't mentioned it as a house rule already, I am allowing shipwrights to repair fire masts.

The Meresman returns to the Caribbean, where she informs the fleet of the total loss to the Pirates.


However, what English ships couldn't escape the Sea of Allost put up a good final fight in the meantime!  The Plantagenet towed the Dunlap to send the latter through the whirlpool and back to safety, shooting a firepot into the Revenge at the same time.


The Wycliffe shot a mast off the Fool's Hope, while the Hastings unsuccessfully boarded the Black Arrow.


The Guy Fawkes ignites the Deliverance, but the Belle of Exeter misses most of her shots.




Of the 10 English ships sent to fight the Pirates, only 5 are able to return to the Caribbean.  The other 5 will likely be captured by the Pirates.


Plenty of other English gunships had been preparing to take the plunge to Allost, but after the blowout loss and the Pirates limiting how many ships can emerge from the whirlpool, the English are considering other options.


The Principe de Asturias sets out, as the Cristal del Obispo cashes in her luxuries.  The Ebro will dock next turn to increase the Spanish store to 30 gold, at which point they plan to launch the San Cristobal!


In the Sea of Karkuda, the Spanish "miracle" continues, with the Granada going 2/3 and the Spanish having a good turn overall.  In a way they're fighting on their home field, since the Castle was built by the Spanish long ago. They are hell-bent on retaking it!


The Kentucky is finally dismasted, and will burn to the waterline if the Americans cannot save her!



The Spanish 5-ship reinforcement squadron has finally arrived, and will provide some life into the Spanish attack now that the Santa Ana, Corazon Dorado, and Asesino de la Nave have all been crippled.


The Spanish are not planning to send any of their damaged ships back to the Caribbean.  They are intent upon capturing the Castle and using it to repair once they have driven the Americans out.


A perspective from the American side, with the Granada acting as a block ship:


The French turn!

As usual, very crowded logistics at the Harbor as the French continue to restore order after the Cursed attack.


VERY crowded indeed:


Similar to the Pirates, the French have begun to surround their whirlpools in an effort to prevent hostile attackers from invading:


Le Loup-Garou is back from the Caribbean, but rolls a 6 and cannot discover the Sea of Allost.


Amiral Louis Cartier strikes again!  He has been incredibly successful with his EA rolls in this game, and this one let him sail the Delacroix from near the lighthouse island around Fish Island and to the USS Mercury!  The French open fire! The Mercury is hit 4 times, and the French have opened up another theater of the battle.


Indeed, with the Spanish reinforcements clogging the narrow entrance to the Castle up north, 6+ French gunships are now headed south to invade American waters from the east.


The Mercure speeds west towards the American battle, while the Rocher Noir and Espadon head south to combat the pesky Mercenaries.  The Tepant is anchored by the Harbor entrance as a guard ship. At the upper left, the Profeta is the latest Spanish arrival from the whirlpool, but there will be a considerable delay between the 5 Spanish ships mentioned earlier and any future Spanish reinforcements.  The Resolucion and Principe are also on their way in the Caribbean, but each Spanish ship is spaced apart, so there will not be a sudden flood of Spanish ships entering the Castle area anytime soon.


Unable to get in range of American ships, some French blockade runners use their time to chain tow the Pequod close to The Flat, where the Monaque and Aaron Burr will also undergo repairs.


Disaster for the Americans!  The Franklin is dismasted and set aflame!


Up north, the Superbe flees after the Kettering cancelled Arathiel's sac ability.  This allowed the Conquerant to round the stern of the Jarvis and shoot at the Kettering, but she went 0/2 and jammed her flamethrower!  XD Le Gaule dismasted the Jarvis, but it was a mix of extreme success and extreme failure on this French turn.


Other than the Franklin, here is perhaps the greatest successes!  The Neptune hit the President with stinkpot shot, freezing Commodore Preble and his crew for the American turn!  This denies them the potential usage of his AA ability, while the French got their own from Gaston on this turn. Gaston and Deleflote combined to give two French capital ships double actions this turn: the Neptune repaired and sailed out, replacing the Ville de Paris, who sailed to The Flat to carry out her own repairs!  In the background looms an important figure yet to see action in this battle: Lenoir's own ship, the Dauphin Royal!


A grim scene for American fans, with Preble himself in trouble and the Franklin likely doomed to fire.  


The Franklin was in "the spot" as it's coming to be known, with yet another capital ship dismasted in nearly the exact same area.  It's like the Bermuda Triangle of Command the Oceans, right between the lumber island, Flat, and Castle.


And now for some zoomed out shots to show the scope of the battle between the Franco-Spanish and the Americans.


The battle stretches the entire length of the Sea of Karkuda!!  From the Delacroix vs. Mercury south of Fish Island, to the action northwest of the lumber island:






The American turn!  First off, notice the President hiding in a fog bank.  In what could become a future Battle of the Heroes, Lenoir (aboard the Dauphin Royal and in range of Preble's ship) cancelled the President's reroll ability right after the fire aboard the President spread!  With Preble already out of action due to the stinkpot shot from the Neptune, Lenoir was free to cancel the reroll ability to ensure the fire DID spread. This burnt the President's second mast, and the Americans suffered a morale loss when Preble fled into the fog.  He will sail home for repairs.


With no way to save the Franklin, the Americans sadly let her sink early in their turn.  However, this cleared space for the Intrepid and Concordia to get revenge!!


The Intrepid walloped the Neptune on 3/4 shooting, including an exploding shot!  The Concordia, Horizon, and Julius Caesar teamed up to dismast the Mont Blanc. The carnage continues to mount!


The Boston, Saratoga and Hudson are getting in action, taking the places of the Franklin, President, and Overton.  In the north, the Kettering chain tows the Jarvis back to the Nene-nui and goes 3/6 to damage the Gaule and Conquerant:


With the exception of HMS Henry VIII, the English have left Karkuda.  The Americans are establishing a close blockade of the whirlpool and towing the last Pirate captures back home for repairs.


A few closeups to show the debris-laden battlefield; keep in mind this is AFTER some ships repaired so the wreckage was actually more dense!  However, you can see it more clearly now that there aren't as many ships sailing over the masts.


Even the deep southwest corner of Karkuda has seen considerable carnage:


The Americans start their Castle operations with a bang!  After the Mercury flees into the fog, the Hornet, Mohican and Atlanta took over combat duties.  The ships combined to go 5/7, setting the Delacroix on fire and likely sending Amiral Louis Cartier and Jordan Dumas scurrying away for repairs next turn!


The Granada loses one mast, partly because the Americans can't get more than around 5 shots in range of her.


The Kentucky burns and sinks.  She has been outnumbered since she was launched I believe, but put up a spirited defense of the Castle while she could.   The Harlequin and Gold Eagle (both damaged) are now responsible for holding the northeastern area of the Castle, likely an impossible task given the Franco-Spanish onslaught coming from the north.  However, the Harlequin proves her worth, setting the Asesino aflame and almost definitely dooming the ship! ("almost" barring any bizarre interference or some kind of shipwright transfer miracle XD)  This continues the stalemate/indecisive battling trend, where factions trade huge blows but struggle to win territory (such as the Monaque momentum shifts on both sides of the French-American battle, and now the Charlemagne/Franklin morale shifts).  Since this resembles historical warfare (especially sea battles in the 1600's) I'm quite fine with it. XD It will be interesting to see who wins the war of attrition!




American artillery lands a hit on the Serpiente from beyond normal range due to the height of the firing arc:


The Castle situation.  The Enterprise got a bad fog roll and still hasn't seen battle.  Wayne Nolan (her commander) has grown frustrated, unable to reach the Pirate battle due to carrying the Castle fort upgrade and now unable to reach the Franco-Spanish battle due to crowded quarters and foggy conditions.  Two gunships on each side are crippled and hide in the fog.


Destruction at the Battle for the Castle!



The Colonial Trader unloads infantry reinforcements at the Castle:




I didn't realize it until today, but the lower ledges provide great spots for infantry units:



The Albany has begun burning wildly and out of control!  However, with Commander Crenshaw and many expensive cannons aboard, the Americans are desperate to save her!  Through some chain towing logistics they will likely be able to dock her home next turn.


The near beach on the big northwestern island has run out of textiles!


Some pictures of Karkuda:



The Turn 72 graveyard, though I think I'm missing some I had already put away.  The Americans have lost some points (Brandywine was a Jade ship when she sunk though), including two large gunships (one of which is one of their best).


Turn 73!!  The resource roll was not a 1, and there are now 3 turns remaining until the next major change.


The Sunrise Fire braves Shipwreck Cove to access Pearl Island!  Next turn she may become the first ship to explore the island! The final frontier is upon us!  XD


The crew of the Celtic Fury have climbed back up the ladder and begin drilling operations!



There they are!!  XD


The Pirates clean up against the English:


The Revenge partially succumbs to the flames and may need cargo ships to get out of her way at the kingdom, to the high annoyance of many captains....


The Guy Fawkes and Belle of Exeter are dismasted:


The Wycliffe is doomed to burn, while the Hastings is simply sunk outright.  That might make the Hastings the largest ship to sink by pure cannon fire and not from fire masts.


The Rickets and White Rose dismasted the Plantagenet, who was captured by the Dolphin and thrown into the whirlpool by the tow.


The Pirates purposely placed her at the northern whirlpool so they could tow the ship a smaller distance to Dead Man's Point.  The gunships lined up at the right are repairing with shipwrights, but they will have to move soon to make way for the Sea Nymph and Akua Lapu (who put out her fire mast!).


A somewhat rare view looking west along the northern wall of the Tunnel, showing the defensive line the Pirates are assembling:


The Pirates launched a bit at the end of their turn: two of their four krakens, with the Just Wind as a new support gunship.


Left of the horribly mauled Fuchuan, the Picaroon will soon begin repairing masts.  I have taken most of the masts from the Karkuda battlefield out so ships can repair more easily without me having to go back and forth between rooms to grab masts in the debris field.  XD








The JR-Cursed War

The Jades begin their turn!  The Wiglaf goes a miserable 1/4 (musketeer and reroll from Shayna Deux providing the additional shots), but the Whydah loses a mast to the Dragon's Talon.


Numerous galleys team up to set the Poor Adams on fire!






The captured Executioner repairs a mast, and the Fire Djinn sets the Flying Dutchman on fire yet again!  (third time in this battle I believe)


The Donar and Ivory Star combine to go just 2/7, leaving two masts on the Spilled Salt:


However, in a short-lived and rare battle of longships, the Asgard goes 4/4 to dismast the Serpent's Fang!


The flood of galleys advances slightly, with the Majestic losing her third and final crew to the Cursed horde.


Against all odds, with a huge miraculous effort the Jades somehow manage to save the Beowulf from burning to the waterline!!  The Nubian Prince began the chain tow, and no less than 7 different ships towed the Beowulf at some point during the turn! However, the Jades needed some kind of double action for the last ship to not only begin towing the ship, but also to bring her home.  The Grand Temple finally got a decent fog roll and succeeded with her SAT to move twice, towing the Beowulf and docking her home to extinguish the flames!


One of the great rescue efforts in history, and the Jades still have both their icebreakers in play.


A shot from the Jade HI looking at the gates of the Roost:


The ships in the northeastern area finally do some damage, hitting the Rook's Folly once and the Knight's Errant 4 times:


The Polaris eliminates part of the big berg as the Loki flees into the fog:


The Yggdrasil also finds temporary shelter in the fog, but one Jade ship has made an ill-fated decision to chase the Fleur de la Mort into the Tunnel...


The Floating Stone connects, but the Pirates will likely blast the ship to pieces on their turn.


From above, looking at the entire front:


The Cursed begin their turn, and The Headhunter gets his first 6 of the game!!  O_O


It is true that luck would be on the side of evil on this day!  The Whydah sets the Wiglaf alight, dismasts the Proud Tortoise, and captures the Hrothgar!!



The Poor Adams sails away to repair, dismasting the Ragnarok in the process!  The Flying Dutchman reverses direction and tows the Scorpion, who is immediately scuttled due to her Eternal keyword!


The Pyre becomes ghostly to reach the Wiglaf, and hits 2/2 to dismast the ship!


Sea monsters rise!  Gog-Clocthoth and Slarg Gubbit surface, pinning the Grand Mountain and Sultan's Sword.


And now for the climax of the Cursed turn!!  Davy Jones copies the fog hopper ability, sending the Guichuan to the fog bank just southeast of Broken Horn Island!!  O_O


One of the Cursed weapons is aboard!  They have been saving this UT for ages!  [card="87755"]Poseidon's Breath![/card]


Moving a full 10S (!), the Guichuan goes around the Jade wild island and almost reaches their home island!!  However, The Headhunter and Davy Jones agree to turn north, right into the Jade trade route to the wild island!!


With a very potent combo (DJ+fog hopper+Poseidon's Breath), the biggest ship in the game is suddenly interfering with JR cargo ships!




The Guichuan went 6/11 (with a musketeer) on her first shoot action, knocking masts off the Grand Wind and Sea Wind.


You can probably guess which ship got the Headhunter's AA this turn....


Here you can see the immense height of the Roost as it towers over even the Guichuan:


The immensity of this game, which perhaps no on else can match...


The Guichuan's second action of the turn rips spar from sail!  A 7/11 effort sees the Sea Tiger dismasted and the Grand Wind badly damaged.



Davy Jones' supernatural powers kept the Guichuan's 10th mast from falling until the end of their overall turn (the drawback of Poseidon's Breath).


Surveying the damage, with the Executioner recaptured after the Flying Dutchman dismasted her.


From left to right: the Monkey's Paw has finally dismasted the Fire Djinn, so she will be of no further harm to the FD.  The Donar finally loses a mast and is hit with Fear. The crew of the Ivory Star is similarly scared, while Namazu uses the bonus of the Serpent's Fang to get in position (while submerged of course)... could another wave attack be coming soon?  Right by the entrance to the Roost, the Cursed keep the Asgard from entering the huge hallway the Cursed call home, the Grim Reaper and Deat